Court agrees to hear Prop 8 challenges

November 19, 2008 7:48:36 PM PST
The California Supreme Court announced Wednesday that they would hear legal challenges to Prop 8, which bans same-sex marriage. The judges will take up the case in the beginning of the new year; same-sex marriages cannot resume during the legal process.

"Unless and until the justices say otherwise in this case, Proposition 8 is the law of the land," ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson said.

Specifically, the court will examine three questions about the controversial measure:

- Is Prop 8 a revision of, or an amendment to the California Constitution? If it is a revision, it must involve the legislature as well as voters.

- Does Prop 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

- If Prop 8 is constitutional, are the marriages performed before the election still valid?

"The role of the California Supreme Court is to examine issues of broad public importance and also, particularly, to examine issues of basic fundamental personal rights," Johnson said.

There is not a lot that can be read out of Wednesday's court decision, but there are some signs that there may be some disagreement on the future of same-sex marriage, Johnson said.

"There was at least one justice, Justice Moreno interestingly enough, who actually would have granted a stay of the enforcement of Prop 8," Johnson said.

Proponents of Prop 8 are happy the court has upheld the case going forward.

"They are not delaying the implementation of prop 8, so it goes into effect immediately as it has with the vote," Catholics for the Common Good spokesperson Thomas Loarie said.

The opponents, led by San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera, are confident same-sex couples will ultimately prevail.

"The cases before the high court today are no longer about marriage rights alone, they are about the foundations of our constitution," Herrera said.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown will defend the voters' passage of Prop 8. Brown said Wednesday he welcomes the courts order. The justices could hold a hearing as early as march and would issue a ruling within 90 days.


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