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Emotional Board of Supervisors backs Prop. 8 challenge*

November 12, 2008 | 12:52 pm

Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted this afternoon to join a lawsuit filed by the City of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Clara County challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative voters passed by a narrow margin this month.

The vote was carried by the board’s three Democrats: Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, who proposed the board join the lawsuit, and Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, who voted in support.

Of the two Republicans, Supervisor Michael Antonovich was out of town, and Supervisor Don Knabe left the meeting just as speakers began.

More than a dozen speakers appeared in support of the board’s vote and opposition to Proposition 8, including Los Angeles City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo, San Francisco City Atty. Dennis Herrera and several gay couples. Both Molina and Yaroslavsky, who have officiated at same-sex wedding ceremonies since California legalized them in June, said they acted out of a sense of duty and personal responsibility.

Yaroslavsky pointed out a couple he married who were among those speaking in support of the vote.

“Some of us may ask why the county supervisors would be involved and get so involved in this issue,” Molina said, citing the board's responsibility to supply marriage license, uphold the law and “balance the enforcement of Proposition 8 with recognizing the constitutional right of all our citizens.” Molina added, “On a personal note, I am here to say that the passage of Prop. 8 saddened and angered me on various levels.”

Yarolslavsky noted that was “a close call” given how divided the state and county have been on the question of gay marriage. He said that he was not always a supporter of gay marriage (he supported civil unions instead) but said he “was persuaded” by colleagues and his children.

“It’s very important for the County of Los Angeles to be at the table on this,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt anybody. It doesn’t adversely affect anybody else.”

*Update: Antonovich had earlier said he would not support the legal challenge. His statement: "The appropriate time to have raised legal objections was prior to the election –- not after the people have once again voted on the issue. This move will disenfranchise voters who turned out in record numbers to participate in the process and have their voices heard.”

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

Photo: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times

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