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California Supreme Court to rule on Proposition 8 Tuesday

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will rule Tuesday on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that resurrected a ban on same-sex marriage.

The ruling, which will be posted at 10 a.m., will also determine whether an estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages will continue to be recognized by the state.

Gay rights lawyers have argued that the ballot measure was an illegal constitutional revision rather than a more limited amendment. Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown urged the court to reject the measure on different grounds. He contended the proposition was unconstitutional because it took away an inalienable right without compelling justification.

Chief Justice Ronald M. George and Justice Joyce L. Kennard will cast key votes in the case. They were part of the four-judge majority that gave gays the right to marry last May, but both indicated at oral argument that they were not persuaded the measure was unconstitutional.

The court’s majority decision should be revealed in the first or second page of the ruling and reiterated in its last paragraph. Separate concurring and dissenting opinions follow.

Counting votes may be tricky because the court is dealing with three different legal issues: the revision challenge, the attorney general’s challenge and the fate of existing same-sex marriages.

The court’s vote on whether Proposition 8 is an impermissible revision, for example, will probably differ from its vote on whether existing marriages should continue to be recognized by the state.

Justices who disagree with the majority file dissents. If they agree with only part of the majority decision, they file an opinion called a partial concurrence and dissent.

During oral argument in March, every justice expressed support for upholding existing marriages. Justice Carlos M. Moreno indicated he believed Proposition 8 was an illegal revision, indicating he would dissent on that question

Moreno might be joined by Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, a former civil rights lawyer who stressed the court was dealing with a novel legal question. Werdegar, however, did not join Moreno in voting to put the measure on hold pending the court’s ruling.

-- Maura Dolan

Supreme Court website
Loudly and colorfully, opposing sides debate Proposition 8
Democratic legislators ask state Supreme Court to void Prop. 8
Gay marriage ban: A tale of two votes
County by County voting map
Los Angeles County: By the precincts
Tracking the money: Final Numbers
Follow our Twitter updates @latimesprop8 and @latimescitydesk

Comments () | Archives (80)

why bother to vote if our wishes are overturned . all of the talk about the will of the people my ass .the will of the lobbyist is more like it

(linkback) Yes or No? Will California Supreme Court throw out Proposition 8 on Tuesday? [VOTE] - http://www.pikk.com/9fe84

I do feel that its against the constitution to ban same sex marriage. However a majority of voters voted against this and now the supreme court is trying to over rule them. This tells me that voting is just a waste of time and our votes me nothing. I think that this just goes to show how the nation is really run... the squeakiest wheel gets the grease; the voice of a minority over shadows that of the majority. Like I said, Im for same sex marriage, seeing how we should all be treated equally, but shouldnt our votes have a greater impact?

Let's just hope that, whatever their exact decision, they don't hold that equal protection can be removed by a simple majority vote. That would make California a very, very scary place to live.

legistation from the bench. This can not be constitutional. We voted.. and this is PROP # 2 -- first 22 passed and Judge overturn. Now 8 pass and they are even thinking of overturning? Govt for the people BY the people! Why vote. Ridiculous...

If the will of the people is unconstitutional, then yes, it should be overturned. Tyranny of the majority anyone?

Screw the 'will of the people'! It's my will to want to get married some day and its not fair that 2% of the population made it illegal for a minority group to not be allowed to get married. Get your religion out of my civil rights! This country was founded on the separation of church and state. Leave it up to the churces to decide who they will/wont married but grant me my rights!!!

The language "ban on gay marriage" is so bogus. If you call it a ban on gay marriage then you have to also call it a ban on polygamy, beastial marriage, marrying inanimate objects, marrying your mom, etc... Call it what it is people, an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. To call it anything else is fallacious and shows a clear bias.

If the will of the people discriminates a minority, then it will be overturned. There is no legitimate argument in prohibiting same-sex marriage; virtually every argument made is rooted in religion.

Our country has discriminated in the past against African Americans, Asian Americans, women, etc., only to learn it was wrong. This isn't any different. Years from now, future generations will look back and realize how close-minded and ignorant we are today.

How come people who support Prop 8 seem unable to spell correctly?

It would behoove many of the commenters here to take a constitutional law course.

I would really like to encourage readers to at least rationally think about your comments prior to indulging in crass generalizations and broad sensationalistic invective. This board is for intelligent discussions, not xenophobia and crass moralisms.

Overturning Prop 8 is the only thing that makes sense. How can we take away someone's civil rights after they have be granted. And what a mess this state will face if these 18,000 people decide to sue the State.

We all pay taxes. Why is it fair that a straight couple should get more rights/benefits than a gay couple when both are REQUIRED to contribute the SAME amount of money to the system? Prop 8 is taxation without representation- anyone can do the math. As far as people who feel that their votes are being ignored are concerned: you can't legislate morality. Just because something is "passed," that doesn't make it right. It took waaay to long for women and people of color to have "equal rights" because people were as backward then as they are on this issue now.

For those of you who think it is a waste of time to vote, then so be it, stop voting.

Voting was a mechanism of voting for representatives, not deciding who gets legal rights and how does not.

If Californians vote to make Christianity illegal, should that stand? No! The Constitution is written to protect all, not just those that people want to protect.

The Supreme Court would be setting dangerous precedent if it allowed Prop 8 to stand. Whose rights do we take away next?

"the will of the people" is a scary concept without some safeguards, which is why America was formed as a representative democracy with constitutional protections for its people. Delivberative debate, not mob rule. Equal protection under the laws. Those are all fundamental concepts of our government. As an Asian-American, I would never want a majority to vote on what rights I get to have. It would be a sad day for all minorities if the court upholds the writing of discrimination into our constitution.

If Gay marriages are approved, then plural marriages should also be legal.
Many men are able to support more than one wife, and many women are willing to be in such relationships. The State should stay out of it.

Our judicial system exists for a reason. Any 9th grader who has taken a basic civics classes would know this. And the courts certainly have the right, and furthermore the duty to step in when rights are granted or denied on the basis of sexual orientation. Citizens should not be able to vote the rights for particular people out of existance.

Hoyt adams, lobbyist have nothing to do with the Court. You are thinking of Congress which has nothing to do with this decision. Please get your branches of government correct.

RWE and Steve, have you guys ever even read the Constitution or know what the California Constitution says. I would recommend such an action before stating that something is unconstitutional.

votes do mean something, but when those votes come at the expense of a protected minority, then it is the obligation of the court to prohibit a tyranny of the (slim) majority. it will be a very sad and unprecedented day if the state supreme court decides to strip a right from a group of people that they previously gave said right to.

To Just-a-guy, you seem to forget that same sex marriage was made legal by a vote of a handful of judges. The vote of the people (and the 2% difference - not to mention the entire set of voters - is much more than that handful of judges) was to overturn than previous judgement and return to the traditional law.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the vote of the people, it was the vote of a majority of the voters and the proposition was exactly what the previous judgement said was lacking (i.e. they overturned the previous vote of the people because there was no relevant clause in the state constitution).

Although we may diagree with the outcome of a vote, it is the American way to at least respect the voters and their independent views.

@ RWE in San Diego (of course)

Yes, "why vote?ridiculous" That should have been the slogan for the No on Prop 8 campaign. It should never have been put to the people of the state to decide in the first place, but I guess that's how it 'works'.

If you don't like the constitutional process, work to change it. But there has to be a process that is followed regardless of who is on a given side of a given issue.

Yes, it is true that prop 8 received a majority vote... a sad statement about the continued level of prejudice, hate, fear and bigotry that still exists in this country, even in 2009. But this ruling is about whether this vote should even have occurred in the first place. I do find it interesting, and not just a little hypocritical, that people are outraged at the idea that their vote may be put into question, when their very vote was seeking to deny rights to others. That is the thing about conservatives. They only think about themselves.

Since when is marriage a right? You lefties and fruitcakes are such whining little snots. Grow up.

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