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Sexual Orientation Discrimination

On February 17, 1999, Attorney General Lockyer withdrew his predecessor's amicus brief support in the Hawaii Supreme Court in Baehr v. Miike. The amicus brief that was filed argued that Hawaii should not sanction same-sex marriage because it would cause discord with other states.

In 2000, the Attorney General joined in an amicus brief authored and filed by the New York Attorney General in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, a case in which the Boy Scouts are asking the United States Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court that upheld the application of New Jersey's state law that prohibits discrimination by public accommodations to the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts seek to establish the right to exclude gay males from membership in that organization on the grounds that such exclusion is protected by the right to freedom of association under the First Amendment. The amicus brief supports the position that application of the subject law to the Boy Scouts is not precluded by the First Amendment. The states of Hawaii, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington also joined in this brief. Unfortunately, in a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts.

On December 8, 2004, the Office of the Attorney General filed an amicus brief in support of plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court in Koepke v. Bernardo Heights Country Club. At issue in this case is whether the Country Club violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act by refusing to grant a family membership to a lesbian couple who are registered domestic partners under California law. In this brief, the Attorney General argues that treating registered domestic partners differently from married couples in the provision of any accommodation, advantage, facility, privilege or service by a business establishment, without a legitimate business reason for such differentiation, is a violation of the Unruh Act. We further argue that the Unruh Act protects registered domestic partners from being treated differently from married couples by business establishments, and that there is no legitimate interest in refusing to offer membership benefits to registered domestic partners on the same basis as they are offered to married couples.

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