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Supreme Court sets March 5 for gay marriage arguments

February 3, 2009 |  2:54 pm

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will hear oral arguments on the legality of the state's gay marriage ban on March 5.

The hearing is one of the most anticipated in the court's history. Supporters and opponents of Proposition 8 will make their case about whether the measure should be invalidated. Pro-gay marriage groups filed a lawsuit after the November election, saying the gay marriage ban violated the state Constitution. Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown at first said he would defend Proposition 8, but then he changed his mind and argued that it was unconstitutional. Backers of the measure have filed briefs supporting the ban. According to the court, justices will consider three issues:

-- Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?

-- Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

-- If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

--Jessica Garrison