Oscars, Prop 8 Debate Returns

February 23, 2009 10:19:31 PM PST
The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next week regarding the legal challenge to Proposition 8. California voters approved the ban on gay marriages in November. But lawyers on both sides of the issue will square off to determine if voters can legally change a state's constitution. The legal challenge only ramps up an already emotionally-charged debate.Actor Sean Penn has never been a man to mince words and he performed on cue Sunday night after the Oscars when asked about the Prop 8 comments during his acceptance speech.

Fresno Pastor Jim Franklin did not watch the Academy Awards but has since seen excerpts from Penn's acceptance speech. He says, "I was offended by it ... it shows how out of step he is with California."

Franklin is one of California's most outspoken pastors in the "Yes on 8" campaign. He says he believes in the end Prop 8 will stand. Franklin said, "The majority of people who went to the polls voted to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The majority of America, the majority of states have marriage defined as between one man and one woman."

State Attorney General Jerry Brown is asking the State Supreme Court to overturn the measure saying it quote, "violates basic rights guaranteed in the state constitution."

For Fresno's Robin McGehee it's a matter of civil rights. McGehee and her wife were among thousands in California who got married last June during the five months it was legal to do so in the state. McGehee says, "For me, win or lose, it's still the message that I am not a second class citizen and how do I secure rights to protect my family without having to separate and name it something different which leaves me with having to set up different documentation through wills and trusts and tax laws. "

Among those who have filed legal challenges to Prop 8 are the ACLU, Lambda Alliance and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Heading up the Prop 8 defense team is Ken Starr- the same man who led impeachment efforts against President Bill Clinton. The California Supreme Court must issue a decision on the matter within 90 days of hearing the oral arguments next Thursday.

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