California Supreme Court Releases Decision on Prop 8 Standing

The California Supreme Court has decided that the proponents of the 2008  ballot measure Proposition 8 do have standing to defend the initiative that banned same gender marriage in federal court.

From the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Alert Blog:

In a major lift for proponents of California’s same-sex marriage ban, the California Supreme Court ruled this morning that they have legal standing under state law to defend the measure in court.

The opinion is expected to increase the likelihood that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will rule the proponents of Proposition 8, approved by voters in 2008, have authority to defend the measure, allowing the case to move forward.

The California Supreme Court concluded, “When the public officials who ordinarily defend a challenged state law or appeal a judgment invalidating the law decline to do so … the official proponents of a voter-approved initiative measure are authorized to assert the state’s interest in the initiative’s validity, enabling the proponents to defend the constitutionality of the initiative and to appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative.”

The decision by the Court is in response to a request by the 9th Circuit Federal Appeals Court for a determination on standing in order to rule whether the appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to overturn the initiative as unconstitutional can move forward.

  3 comments for “California Supreme Court Releases Decision on Prop 8 Standing

  1. November 17, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    It’s a shame that this even has to be defended. The government has no business being involved in marriage to begin with. Marriage is a moral proposition not a government function. Churches and JPs were all yhat was needed in the old days. Toi bad we have government intrusion in every facet of our lives.

    • paulcook-giles
      November 17, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      Jeff, marriage can be a moral –although I think ‘spiritual’ is probably closer to what you intend– commitment, but it is not only that; the civil contract of marriage is real and valid, even if there is no moral or religious component.

      I think the confusion exists because we use one word–“marriage”– to describe two very different things: a religious covenant, and a civil contract. We don’t (and shouldn’t) let government interfere with the covenant; Roman Catholic priests should be able to refuse to marry divorced people and Orthodox rabbis should be free to deny marriage to interfaith couples; we would regard any intrusion by the government into that process as a violation of the First Amendment.

      However, the reverse is also true; religious organizations or people do not get to impose their faith-based strictures on the government-regulated civil contract of marriage. People can get a marriage license at the courthouse regardless of their previous marital history, or their faith –or lack of it. Advocating the imposition of a religious overlay to a civil contract is just plain unamerican.

      That is, at the foundation, what the Prop 8 trial was about: civil law has to have a rational basis. The proponents of Prop 8 were trying to prove that there is a rational basis for excluding gay people from the civil contract of marriage. They failed to do so. Today’s opinion means only that their appeal to the 9th District panel will be heard.

  2. Diana
    December 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    The Yes on Prop 8 side will win. Marriage is only between a man and a woman. The Yes on Prop 8 side can prove that you cannot marry an AKA!

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