Merrill alumna who challenged same-sex marriage ban to speak Monday, Oct. 13

California case was a key victory in the national movement to overturn state marriage bans

Kris Perry
Kris Perry, a lead plaintiff in the challenge to Proposition 8 that banned same-sex marriage in California
Kris Perry, a Merrill College alumna who was a lead plaintiff in the California same-sex marriage case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court last year, is scheduled to speak at noon Monday, October 13, at Kresge Town Hall on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Perry (psychology and sociology, '86) and her partner Sandra Stier sued the Alameda County clerk after they were denied a marriage license in May 2009. Their case was one of several that challenged the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 that banned same sex marriages after voters approved it in November 2008.

In August 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled for the plaintiffs, overturning Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which last year let the lower court ruling stand.

Perry and the legal case were featured in the HBO Documentary "The Case Against 8." At Monday's event she will make a presentation and take part in a discussion of the issues of same-sex marriage and  legal challenges to state bans.

Kelly Weisberg, professor of law at UC Hastings College of Law, will present an introductory talk, "Setting the Stage for the Same-Sex Marriage Cases." Weisberg is married to Chancellor Blumenthal.

Perry is executive director of the First Five Years Fund, a national organization that works to achieve better results in education, health, and economic productivity. In addition to her B.A. from UCSC she holds a masters degree in social work from San Francisco State University.

Perry and Stier, who have been together since 1997, first tried to marry in 2004 after San Francisco began issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Now married, they are the parents of four boys.

Perry's presentation is presented by the Staff Diversity Group and the Cantú Queer Center at UC Santa Cruz.