Prop 8 Validity Questioned in CA Supreme Court

March 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Justices are being asked to rule on the same-sex marriage amendment voters approved back in November. The justices are peppering the attorneys with questions about the validity of Prop. 8. The hearing is scheduled to end at noon.

Hundreds of people from both sides of the issue were demonstrating outside the courtroom. Three lawsuits were filed directly in the California Supreme Court following the passing of Prop. 8 this past November.

It states, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Today, justices are hearing arguments on three points:

1. Is prop 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?

2. Does it violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

3. If it's not unconstitutional, what is the effect, if any, on the marriages of same sex couples performed before the adoption of Prop. 8?

Most of the early arguments were from same sex marriage supporters.

"As far as we're concerned. If you're in the marriage business do it equally. If the state obviously stuck its finger in the marriage business it should stick it there equally. If its not going to be equally then get out of the marriage business. That's our position on it," said an attorney for same sex marriage.

"The people are those who created the constitution... And what you're overlooking is the very broad powers of the people to amend by initiative the constitution," said Justice Joyce Kennard with the California Supreme Court.

Former Pepperdine Law School Dean Kenneth Starr represents Prop 8's sponsors. He argues that the ballot initiative was approved correctly and that it would be a miscarriage of justice for the court to overturn the results of a fair election.

The ballot initiative passed with 52 percent of the vote after the Supreme Court ruled denying same sex couples the right to wed was an unconstitutional civil rights violation.

The Supreme Court's seven justices have 90-days after today's oral arguments to issue a ruling.

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