Yesterday, the California Supreme Court heard arguments concerning whether ProtectMarriage, supporters of Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage in California, have standing to represent the state by defending the law in the pending case in the US Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court. ProtectMarriage has requested the standing to challenge Federal District Judge Vaughn 2010 ruling that Proposition 8 violates the federal constitutional rights of lesbians and gays because neither Governor Jerry Brown (D) nor Attorney General Kamala Harris will defend the law in the appeal.
Within 90 days, the seven members of the California Supreme Court will issue a decision regarding whether it will permit ProtectMarriage to represent the state in the Proposition 8 case. If the judges find that the challenging groups have standing, the court will then rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. However, if the California Supreme Court does not allow Proposition 8’s proponents to defend the law, same-sex marriages would be considered legal in California.
Roland Palencia, Executive Director of Equality California, stated, “Extremists that backed Proposition 8 want the court to grant them special authority to trump the decision of the Governor and the Attorney General. This request is not only ridiculous, it’s outrageous. Anti-equality individuals and organizations are not official representatives of the State and, despite their claims, they will not experience harm if same-sex couples once again have the freedom to marry. In fact, it is gay and lesbian couples and their families who are harmed every day that they are denied access to the fundamental right to marry.”
Judge Walker’s decision overturned a 6 to 1 ruling by the California Supreme Court which upheld the measure in May 2009. In 2008, Proposition 8 was passed by voters in an electoral referendum.