Thursday, March 5, 2009
Beginning at 9AM today, the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against the validity of the Mormon church-funded Proposition 8, the controversial and bigoted ballot measure that barred same-sex marriage in California by defining marriage only for a man and a woman.
The debate will turn on the Constitutional right of equal protection, the role of the judiciary and the power of the electorate in configuring the state constitution.
The High Court’s seven justices have asked for arguments on three key questions:
• Should Proposition 8 have been submitted to voters as a “revision” to the Constitution, which would have required lawmakers to place it on the ballot? The measure made the ballot via initiative, as an “amendment” to the Constitution.
• Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers provisions of the Constitution because it should have been approved by the Legislature first?
• If the Proposition 8 is Constitutional, what is to become of the estimated 19,000 same-sex marriages performed between June 16 and the passage of the measure on Nov. 4?
Scheduled to present arguments on behalf of Proposition 8 is Kenneth Starr, who gained fame and notoriety for leading an inquiry into President Bill Clinton’s relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky. He is now dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law and deeply involved in conservative legal causes.
Starr argues that California’s electorate have the right as “the sovereign people” to change the state constitution that they created. The definition of marriage enshrined in Proposition 8 is a “multi-generational consensus,” Starr’s brief contends.
From the office of California Attorney General Jerry Brown, Christopher Krueger has 30 minutes to argue that Proposition 8 violates the state constitution and its guarantee of an “inalienable” right to liberty and privacy.
The proceedings will streamed live on calchannel.com.