Minter, Shannon Price


Shannon Price Minter is the Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), one of the nation's leading advocacy organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

Last Chapter for Proposition 8?

By Shannon Minter, Esq., and Christopher Stoll, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights   

On June 5, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that it would not reconsider a three-judge panel’s February 7 decision striking down Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped same-sex couples in California of the freedom to marry. Following a vote by all 27 active Ninth Circuit judges, the court declined to send the case to a larger panel of judges that would have reconsidered the February decision. 

Ninth Circuit Decision Keeps the Focus on California

By Shannon Minter, Esq., and Christopher Stoll, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights

In a long-awaited decision, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California, is unconstitutional. Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt authored the majority decision, which was joined by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins. The third judge, N. Randy Smith, dissented.

Oral Argument in Proposition 8 Appeal Sets the Stage for Ninth Circuit Ruling

By Shannon Minter, Esq., and Christopher Stoll, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments on two issues in Perry v. Brown, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8. In that case, two same-sex couples are challenging Prop 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California. Following a historic trial that took place in January 2010, now-retired Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. That ruling has been on hold while the proponents of Prop 8 appeal Judge Walker’s ruling.

California Supreme Court Extends Unprecedented Power to Initiative Supporters in Proposition 8 Case

By Shannon Minter, Esq., and Christopher Stoll, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights

The California Supreme Court issued a decision today that gives ballot initiative sponsors unprecedented new powers. The ruling held that California law empowers the sponsors of Proposition 8—the 2008 ballot initiative that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples—to appeal the federal district court’s decision in Perry v. Brown finding Prop 8 unconstitutional, even though the state’s Attorney General and Governor both agree that the decision should not be appealed.

California Supreme Court Hears Prop 8 Case

By Shannon Minter, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights

On Tuesday, the California Supreme Court will hear arguments on an important question of California law that has arisen in Perry v. Brown, the ongoing federal challenge to Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot measure that stripped the ability to marry from same-sex couples in California.

The Court must decide whether California law allows the sponsors of Prop 8 to force an appeal in Perry v. Brown—even though the California Attorney General agrees that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. To understand why Tuesday’s hearing is significant, it is helpful to look back on the history of marriage equality in California.

  • May 2008—The California Supreme Court ruled that California’s laws barring same-sex couples from marriage violated California’s Constitution. In the following months, more than 18,000 same-sex couples married in California.

Release the Prop. 8 Tapes

By Shannon Price Minter, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director

On August 29, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge James Ware will hear arguments about whether to unseal the video recordings of the historic trial in Perry v. Brown, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the freedom to marry from same-sex couples in California. After a three-week trial in January 2010, now-retired Chief District Judge Vaughan Walker issued a decision in August 2010, holding that Prop 8 was based on anti-gay animus and blatantly violated the equality guarantees of the federal Constitution. That ruling has been on hold while the proponents of Prop 8 appeal Judge Walker’s ruling.

Refusal to Disqualify Gay Judge Paves the Way for Greater Diversity on the Bench

By Shannon Price Minter, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director

Only one day after hearing a controversial motion to vacate former U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker’s August 2010 ruling invalidating Proposition 8, Chief Judge James Ware of the federal district court in San Francisco issued a historic decision that likely will hasten the day when more openly gay (and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) judges serve on the federal bench. Judge Ware ruled that Judge Walker had no obligation to recuse himself from presiding over the Prop 8 trial simply because he is in a committed relationship with a man.

NCLR Legal Analysis of the Ninth Circuit Prop 8 Ruling

By Shannon Minter
National Center for Lesbian Rights

Yesterday brought a new development in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to strip same-sex couples of the freedom to marry. Perry is currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal appeals court that covers California. In a ruling issued this morning, the Ninth Circuit denied Imperial County’s attempt to intervene in the case. The Ninth Circuit also asked the California Supreme Court to clarify whether, under California law, the group that placed Prop 8 on the ballot has a legal right to appeal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

NCLR Analysis: Ninth Circuit Prop 8 Oral Argument

By Shannon Minter, Esq.
National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director

Monday was the long-awaited oral argument at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8. The Ninth Circuit is the federal appeals court that covers California. Yesterday's argument was heard by a panel of three judges, who will decide whether to uphold District Court Judge Vaughn Walker's August ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

The argument ran for almost two and a half hours, covering two basic questions:
•    Do the proponents of Prop 8—and Imperial County, which is seeking to intervene in the case—have the right to appeal Judge Walker's ruling, even though they do not represent the State of California? The legal term for this question is whether the proponents have "standing" to appeal. 
•    Second, is Prop 8 unconstitutional?

National Center for Lesbian Rights Analysis: Perry v. Schwarzenegger Ruling

By Shannon Minter and Christopher Stoll
National Center For Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Legal Director and Staff Attorney

Today's decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger is nothing short of a grand slam legal victory for LGBT people. In a comprehensive and crystal clear opinion, Judge Walker held that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Judge Walker reached this conclusion for two reasons: because Proposition 8 denies individuals the fundamental right to marry without a compelling reason to do so, violating the Due Process clause of the federal constitution, and because it violates the Equal Protection clause by discriminating based on sex and sexual orientation.