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Date Set for Proposition 8 Hearings

California’s Supreme Court announced this week that it will hear arguments on March 5 of this year in a case that considers the constitutionality of the Proposition 8, which eliminated same sex marriage in the state when it was approved by voters in the 2008 elections. The proposition, which passed 52 percent to 48, overturned a May 2008 ruling of the state Supreme Court that legalized same sex marriage. According to the New York Times, the state Supreme Court will consider the legality of the nearly 18,000 same sex marriages that were performed in California before Proposition 8 was approved by voters. The Court will also consider the question of whether same sex couples have been denied equal protection under California’s state constitution. A number of amicus briefs have been filed in the case, including one from the Feminist Majority Foundation, National Organization for Women, and California National Organization for Women that supports legal challenges to Proposition 8. This brief argues that if Proposition 8 goes into effect, it will jeopardize not just the rights of gay couples to marry, but fundamental constitutional rights for women including the right to decide whether or not to bear a child, the right of sexual privacy, and the right not to be discriminated against in employment. The brief states that it “would be a dangerous precedent that may lead to a downward spiraling slope leaving no fundamental right…safe from the whims of the voting majority.” According to the Los Angeles Times, the court has received 43 amicus briefs from a range of groups arguing that Proposition 8 should be overturned and 20 briefs from religious and legal groups arguing that Proposition 8 should be upheld.

Sources:

Los Angeles Times 2/4/08; New York Times 11/20/08; Feminist Daily Newswire 11/6/08, 11/20/08, 12/22/08, 1/16/09