Prop 8 constitutionality challenged

November 12, 2008 6:58:46 PM PST
The San Francisco city attorney convinced Los Angeles County to join in a lawsuit challenging Prop 8's constitutionality.

Supporters of prop 8 reacted to Los Angeles County's decision. They say they are disappointed and believe Prop 8 will be upheld by the court. They point out the majority of voters approved the measure and are confident the court will not be influenced by political pressure.

On Wednesday, the justices set a timetable for both sides to file their legal arguments.

San Francisco City attorney Dennis Herrera has spearheaded the city's legal battle for same-sex marriage from the very beginning.

On Wednesday, he convinced the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors that the passage of Prop 8 has: "Pushed California to the brink of a constitutional crisis."

"What has happened with Prop 8 threatens much of the concept of an independent judiciary that's challenged with ensuring that everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law. And I don't think that's a threat that can be taken lightly," said Herrera.

Los Angeles County adds muscle to the lawsuit San Francisco filed the day after the election. On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court asked the defenders of Prop 8 to file a brief in court by Monday.

While the legal ball gets rolling, pollsters and pundits are deciphering the data to figure out how Prop 8 passed. Last week, African-Americans and religious conservatives were singled out as factors.

Now the focus is on a generational divide.

"I don't have the data yet to say that officially, but as we look at the exit polls, it's very clear that younger voters are much more likely to support same-sex marriage than older voters, and that holds whether your are Latino, African-American or white," said San Francisco pollster David Binder.

For example, Binder points to the Los Angeles Times exit poll showing 59 percent of Latinos under the age of 30 voted against the initiative banning same-sex marriage, only 40 percent of Latinos 65 and older voted against the ban.

At the San Francisco Senior center, seniors exercised their bodies, as well as their right to vote. All of those we talked to say they bucked the pollster's trends and voted in favor of lesbian and gay couples getting married.

"I think the older I get, the more tolerant I am of a lot of things anyway. You don't have time to have biases and hatreds," said senior citizen Lee Howard.

There is legal precedent for San Francisco's argument. ABC7's legal analyst points to similarities with a 1990 case where the California Supreme Court overturned part of Prop 115, a crime victim's initiative.

Justices decided voters had revised a section of the constitution, not just amended it. And that it was a revision that took away certain fundamental rights.

That is the same argument the county of San Francisco and its allies are making.


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