Organizations encourages lawmakers to vote for resolutions against amendment
Officials with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Monday, Feb. 23 announced that the organization supports measures before the California Legislature challenging Proposition 8, the anti-gay-marriage amendment approved by voters last November.
In a letter to legislative leaders, NAACP national board chair Julian Bond and President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous urged lawmakers to pass House Resolution 5 and Senate Resolution 7 and put the legislature on record as calling for the courts to invalidate Prop 8 as an "improper and dangerous alteration of the California Constitution."
Jealous said, "The NAACP’s mission is to help create a society where all Americans have equal protection and opportunity under the law. Our mission statement calls for the ‘equality of rights of all persons.’
"Prop. 8 strips same-sex couples of a fundamental freedom, as defined by the California State Supreme Court. In so doing, it poses a serious threat to all Americans," Jealous continued. "Prop. 8 is a discriminatory, unprecedented change to the California Constitution that, if allowed to stand, would undermine the very purpose of a constitution and courts — assuring equal protection and opportunity for all and safeguarding minorities from the tyranny of the majority."
SR 7 was set to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 24, and should be sent to the full Senate for a vote shortly thereafter, according to the statement released by the NAACP.
Its companion bill, HR 5, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Feb. 17 and was eligible for a vote before the full Assembly as early as Monday, Feb. 23.
According to the statement released Monday, the California State Conference of the NAACP filed briefs with the California Supreme Court in the legal challenge against Prop. 8, arguing that the measure drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote.
Several other civil rights organizations, faith leaders, unions and leading corporations also filed briefs urging the invalidation of Prop. 8.
Bond said, "The NAACP has long opposed any proposal that would alter the federal or state constitutions for the purpose of excluding any groups or individuals from guarantees of equal protection. We urge the legislature to declare that Proposition 8 did not follow the proper protective process and should be overturned as an invalid alteration that vitiated crucial constitutional safeguards and fundamental American values, threatening civil rights and all vulnerable minorities."
The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on March 5. The court is required to rule within 90 days of oral arguments.