California Supreme Court to hear arguments on Prop 8 challenge on March 3

Posted on 05 Feb 2009 at 12:03am
By Staff Reports

Decision in case determining validity of anti-gay-marriage amendment must come within 90 days of oral arguments

The California Supreme Court announced Tuesday, Feb. 3, that it will hear oral arguments in the challenge to Proposition 8 on March 5. The California Supreme Court must issue its decisions within 90 days of oral argument.

The challenge was brought by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the ACLU, with support from civil rights groups, religious organizations, labor unions, and legal scholars, after Californians on Nov. 4 passed Prop 8, a constitutional amendment banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The vote came after the California Supreme Court ruled last May that laws banning legal recognition of same-sex marriage were unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging Prop 8 say the amendment is invalid because the people of California have established strict safeguards prohibiting the underlying principles of the California Constitution from being changed by a simple majority vote. They say that by taking away a right only from one group — gays and lesbians — Prop 8 violates the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment under the law.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown is also asking the court to invalidate Prop 8 on the grounds that certain fundamental rights, including the right to marry, are inalienable and cannot be put up for a popular vote.

California’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the amendment’s passage was "unfortunate" and that he believes the court will overturn the amendment.

The California Supreme Court agreed on Nov. 119 to hear the legal challenges to Prop 8 and set an expedited schedule. Briefing in the case was completed on Jan. 21.

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