Ted Olson and David Boies were handed a victory in their federal suit against Proposition 8: A speedy trial.
U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker set a trial to start on Jan. 11, just weeks after the December start that they had requested. Charles Cooper, representing proponents of Proposition 8, had sought a date in July, 2010, at the earliest, and also argued that the case could be decided without a trial.
Walker also denied efforts among several organizations to join the suit as plaintiffs. Olson and Boies had argued that the ACLU Foundation, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal would add unnecessary delay.
"Nothing in the record before the court shows the current parties are incapable of delivering a full record that represents all of the parties interests," the judge said.
He did allow the city of San Francisco to join the plaintiffs, but only on issues about the financial impact of Prop 8 on local governments.
Olson and Boies' suit is backed by a group of entertainment industry activists and led by political consultant Chad Griffin.
Walker's decision sets the stage for a whirlwind four months of discovery, concluding on Nov. 30, during which both sides are seeking to depose witnesses involved in the Prop 8 campaign and gather evidence from experts on everything from the ability of same-sex parents to raise children to whether homosexuality is "immutable." He set a hearing for Oct. 14 on the relevance of such discovery and the resolution of other pre-trial disputes.
The trio of same-sex marriage groups that sought to join the case expressed disappointment at the judge's ruling.
They said in a statement, "The significance of this case for our entire community is enormous. To exclude the people whose very freedom is at stake is troubling."