Love on Trial by Sandy Stier (plus a FREE ebook!)

Congratulations to Sandra! She’s the winner of this drawing!

Sandy Stier stopped by to talk a little bit about her role in overturning Prop 8 in California. Plus, because she’s cool like that, she’s also giving away an ebook copy of her book, Love on Trial: Our Supreme Court Fight for the Right to Marry.

Drop a comment in the space below and I’ll draw a winner on Friday, July 21.

Good luck!

love on trial Cover FINAL

Being on a witness stand to defend your personhood, your sexuality, and your most intimate relationship is a bizarre experience. In January 2010, my wife, Kris, and I did just that. We walked into federal court in San Francisco, and gave sworn testimony about ourselves and our lives and about why we were suing the state of California for the right to marry.

As lesbians, Kris and I did not walk through life expecting it to be easy or even fair. Fair isn’t what we were used to, but it’s what we decided to fight for when we joined Jeff and Paul, a young gay couple from Burbank, California, and a team of powerful lawyers in a legal action to overturn Proposition 8, which denied the right to marriage to same-sex couples. In 2008, the same year that our country elected our first African-American president, Californians passed Prop 8, a ballot initiative that enshrined discrimination in the state constitution, ensuring that marriage between a same-sex couple would not be recognized by the state as legal.

Living in Berkeley with our blended family of four kids, Kris and I could not believe our eyes that November night as the voter tallies rolled in; we were devastated when we heard the final result. We rejoiced for our new president, but we cried bitter tears when the California constitution was rewritten, relegating us to second-class citizens in the state we loved so much. We had purchased a home together, raised children together, even gotten married to each other during a brief period of time when the city of San Francisco allowed it, only to have that marriage certificate taken away when the courts deemed it invalid. We took our citizenship and family responsibility seriously, but were not rewarded by our government with the same treatment afforded to other citizens.

When Kris and I heard about and were invited to join in a legal action to challenge Prop 8, we jumped at the opportunity. We sued our beloved state of California in federal court, a few blocks from where we had been married, albeit briefly, just a few years before.

Our legal battle lasted for four years, enough time for our oldest son to finish college and our twins to get through high school. Our legal team wasn’t what the public expected. They weren’t gay lawyers from an advocacy organization. Our team was led by two attorneys who were most well known by the public for being the fierce opponents in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court case that determined the outcome of the 2000 presidential election. A liberal democrat paired with a conservative republican who had faced off at the Supreme Court years before? What more could one ask for? David Boies and Ted Olson had captured the vote of every judge in the highest court of the land by the time they decided to join forces to fight for marriage equality.

“Love on Trial” starts at the beginning of our lives, on a family farm in Iowa (me) and a sleepy street in the Central Valley (Kris). Kris and I talk about falling in love and creating our family in Berkeley, California, sitting in court defending our right to marry, and marching up the stairs of the Supreme Court of the United States to confirm that right. Some days were tough, others were flat-out hysterical. The best part of all is that…spoiler alert…we won!

Sandy Stier is a Senior Advisor in the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families. She and her wife, Kris Perry, who is the Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. lived for many years in Berkeley, California; now they live in Washington, D.C.


  1. Thank yo so much for fighting for all of us! My wife and I finally married Jan. 14th of this year! We’ve been together 22 years and finally got her to say yes after the mess that was the election last year! I would love to read your story and thank you again ladies!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have many great people in Australia fighting for marriage equality so this is not a criticism but I wish we could ‘borrow’ you both. Such a great story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandy/Kris – thank you for everything you have done. I know and have followed your story since the start of your battle and appreciate your courage. I will certainly read your story in your own words.


  4. We so appreciate marriage that we have done it 5 times over our 23 years. One we knew wasn’t legal but it was important, one that was annulled by Oregon, one in Canada, one in NYC because we wanted s US license and finally one with 50 other couples In Provincetown last October with Kate Clinton officiating, which was incredibly powerful.

    We also appreciate all of those who helped us fight for these moments – marching, writing, coming out, making calls and signs and writing checks to sponsor in our minds a basic tenet.

    It’s been a long road, and now it appears is no time to rest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your fight changed so many lives for the better, Sandy. Thank you! Because of the dedication and sacrifices you and your wife made, I was able to marry the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with and call it “legal”. And despite all the steps that others are taking now to try to steal our rights back, you changed history, and for that, many of us will forever be grateful.


  6. Thank you! My wife and I were married in CA before Prop 8 passed. We watched as our home state (MD) became one of the first to affirmatively approve same sex marriage and heaved a sigh of relief that our marriage was safe. Your case made us that much safer but we can never rest when we continue to be under attack as women and lesbians. Thank you!


  7. Sandy and Kris did the most challenging thing ever by putting their relationship and lives in the spotlight for the greater good of us all. I am so grateful and truly look forward to reading about their experience. Thank you!!!


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