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Schwarzenegger neutral on legality of Prop. 8 [Updated]

June 17, 2009 | 10:48 am

[Updated at 3:49 p.m. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today told a federal court that his office remains neutral in the legal battle over whether  Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution.]

“Plaintiffs’ complaint presents important constitutional questions that require and warrant judicial determination," the governor said in a written response to a federal challenge of the anti-gay marriage ballot measure.

" In a constitutional democracy, it is the role of the courts to determine and resolve such questions. … The administration encourages the court to resolve the merits of this action expeditiously.”

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has scheduled a July 2 hearing on arguments whether Proposition 8 should be blocked pending a trial on its constitutionality.

The state has opposed an injunction on the grounds that it could create legal chaos if the measure is eventually upheld. The federal lawsuit was filed shortly before the California Supreme Court rejected challenges to the measure on state constitutional grounds. Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown has argued that Proposition 8 violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

He also argued unsuccessfully in state court that the measure violated the California Constitution.

"We are extremely pleased Gov. Schwarzenegger does not dispute the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 and agrees that swift action is needed to ensure that every person is treated equally under the law,” said Chad Griffin, president of a group formed to back the federal challenge.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Interact140 Interactive map of milestones in the gay marriage battle and how state laws have changed since 2000