Prop. 8 ruling clears way for court battle

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The California Supreme Court ruled that proponents of Proposition 8 — the measure passed in 2008 limiting marriage to a man and a woman — may appeal the ruling that the measure is unconstitutional in federal court.

Largely a procedural hearing, the court examined whether or not a private group like Protect Marriage can represent the proposition in court. Normally, the state government would appeal the ruling; however, Governors Arnold Shwarzenegger and Jerry Brown as well as the attorney general declined to appeal.

“It is essential to the integrity of the initiative process … that there be someone to assert the state’s interest in an initiative’s validity on behalf of the people when the public officials who normally assert that interest decline to do so,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in her first significant opinion since taking office in January.

“Neither the governor, the attorney general, nor any other executive or legislative official has the authority to veto or invalidate an initiative measure that has been approved by the voters,” Cantil-Sakauye said.

In August 2010, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the law discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation and gender, therefore it is unconstitutional. The case has been on hold since December 2010

While the ruling today is advisory, the federal court is likely to follow it. The case could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Opponents of Proposition 8 are confident that the measure will be overturned on constitutional grounds.

 

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