The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear several legal challenges to Proposition 8, the successful 2008 ballot measure which overturned the court’s imposition of same-sex marriage on the state in May. Supporters of Proposition 8 responded by saying they are optimistic their victory will stand.
In agreeing to hear the three lawsuits, the court refused to grant a stay allowing same-sex marriages to resume before it rules on the suits’ merits. The court also explained it wished to address the effect of the proposition’s passage on the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages contracted in California before Election Day, the Associated Press reports.
According to the Alliance Defense Fund, the lawsuits challenging the legality of Proposition 8 argue that the measure ignores the civil rights of a vulnerable minority group and claim that the successful proposition illegally revised the constitution instead of merely amending it.
According to the Associated Press, homosexual rights groups, local governments and California Attorney General Jerry Brown are among the petitioners in the lawsuits.
Brown and lawyers for the Yes on 8 campaign were directed by court justices to submit arguments by December 19 explaining why the initiative should not be nullified. Plaintiffs must respond to the Yes on 8 arguments by January 5.
Both opponents and supporters of the proposition were confident their case would prevail.
ProtectMarriage.com -Yes on 8 said in a press release it is “profoundly gratified” the court granted its requests concerning their participation in arguments. The court granted the campaign’s request to intervene in the cases as Real Parties in Interest and refused to allow outside groups to participate directly in the litigation.
The campaign was also grateful that the court denied the request to delay the implementation of Proposition 8.
"The California Supreme Court is recognizing the People's vote on Proposition 8 and is allowing the measure to go into full effect," said ProtectMarriage.com General Counsel Andy Pugno. "This is a great legal victory for voters."
"This is a great day for the rule of law and the voters of California," Pugno continued. "This order means that voters will get their day in court and ensures that voters will have a vigorous defense of Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court. We are profoundly gratified with the Court's order and are confident that Proposition 8 will be upheld."
"Granting the backers of Prop. 8 intervention in these cases means that voters can be certain that there will be a thorough and vigorous defense of Prop. 8," Pugno said. "Voters will not have to solely depend on Attorney General Jerry Brown to defend the measure. Since the attorney general was an active opponent of Proposition 8, we did not want the fate of the measure to rest in his defense of it."
Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Glen Lavy also commented on the court ruling.
“In America, we respect the results of fair elections,” he said. “We look forward to working with allied attorney Andy Pugno to protect the people’s will expressed in Proposition 8, which restored the definition of marriage to the California Constitution. The lawsuits against the amendment are just one more effort by the far-left to redefine marriage.”