Thursday, November 06, 2008

California will continue to honor marriages of same-sex couples say legal experts

Legal Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Prop 8, Should It Pass

Lambda Legal reports:
(San Francisco) The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court today urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8 if it passes. The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution's core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group — lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first. MORE

California Will Continue to Honor Marriages of Same-Sex Couples Who Married Before the Possible Passage of Prop 8
Lambda Legal reports:
(San Francisco) The California Attorney General, Equality California, and the nation's leading LGBT legal groups agree that the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who married between June 16, 2008 and the possible passage of Proposition 8 are still valid in the state of California and must continue to be honored by the state.

As Attorney General Jerry Brown has stated in previous court papers and as he reaffirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle, those marriages should remain valid notwithstanding Proposition 8's possible passage. On August 5, 2008, Brown told the Chronicle, "I believe that marriages that have been entered into subsequent to the May 15 Supreme Court opinion will be recognized by the California Supreme Court,' He noted that Proposition is silent about retroactivity, and said, 'I would think the court, in looking at the underlying equities, would most probably conclude that upholding the marriages performed in that interval before the election would be a just result.'"

There is absolutely nothing in the language of Proposition 8 to suggest that the initiative would apply to couples who have already legally married. Unless the language of an initiative specifically says that it is to be applied retroactively, California's courts have been very reluctant to do so, especially when the newly passed measure is in such stark conflict with existing constitutional provisions. MORE

  • California U.S. senator Barbara Boxer: Marriage fight not over
  • Gay Marriage: An electoral liability (California's vote against same-sex marriage was one negative consequence of Obama's victory)
  • San Francisco city attorney prepares legal challenge to Prop 8