California Supreme Court Hears Prop 8 Debate Today

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

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24 Responses to California Supreme Court Hears Prop 8 Debate Today

  1. Call me Hal Turner-level crazy, but I cannot imagine Ken Starr! having the same fuzzy feelings about the sovereign people when an issue he supports is on the losing end.

    I really wish someone would come up with a workable remedy for these undead. Stakes just don’t work like they used to.

  2. Brigadoon says:

    Proposition 8 is an example of what happens when radical, religious dogma is allowed into the initiative process and informs and instruct public policy. It is a violation of the separation of church and state and blatantly homophobic.

  3. Walk on Socks says:

    The CA supreme court decided it was illegal to discriminate against gay couple who wish to enter into a legal marriage.

    Can someone explain to me, how the voters can override the high court? Doesn’t the supremacy clause apply to states as well as the Feds?

  4. Estacada says:

    I think Ken Starr is the least sympathetic man in America to argue a bigoted position before a court of men and women in a liberal state like California.

    If the Supreme Court rules with the Mormons and against the gay community, I think the war will be underway and efforts to remove the judges will begin.

    Prop 8 is wrong on the merits and it’s heterosexist.

  5. DMason says:

    Estacada, Scribes say if the CA Supreme Court refuses to overturn Prop 8, they will launch an effort to end the referendum process in California. This doesn’t sit well with voters who have grown accustomed to throwing out governors and shaping laws to reflect the majority opinion over the opinion of the minority. Either way the court decides, it is going to be a mess.

  6. MacDaddy says:

    If California Supreme Court has already decided that it is illegal to discriminate against gay people and, therefore, gays have the right to marry, how was this ever allowed to become a proposition to be voted on by “the people” of California?

    I thought this was already decided.

  7. panasit (the Original) says:

    The California Supreme Court has already made it plain that they are in favor of gay marriage equality and the court is not a fan of having the majority run rough-shod over the minority.

    If the decision allows the majority to overwhelm the minority, then I think there is a compelling case to allow gay residents of California freedom from paying state income tax, which is a long-rumored challenge if gay marriage equality isn’t granted same sex couples.

  8. DR says:

    Sadly, no it is not a dead issue once a court decides it. Unless and until the United States Supreme Court holds that discrimination in marriage against the LGBT community is unconstitutional, these amendments are legal end runs around judicial decisions. The California Supreme Court interpreted the constitution AS WRITTEN. The people of the state did not agree, so they rewrote the Constitution, which invalidates the holding UNLESS the CASCt holds that this needed to go before the Legislature first as more than a revision.

    At the very least, I’m hoping that they leave the current marriages legal. Ideally, they kick the whole thing.

  9. DR says:

    sorry, I meant “amendment” not “revision” in the 2nd to last sentence.

  10. Rachel says:

    Ken Starr, the Grand Inquisitor, is arguing the case for the Yes on Prop 8 side? Am I the only one who finds this a little ironic? What the hell is it with this guy? 11 years ago, Starr was obsessed with Bill Clinton’s sex life. Today, he’s trying to prevent gay Americans from codifying their loving, committed relationships. This guy needs psychiatric help.

  11. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Christians, I have a message for you.

    Take your out of my bedroom and stick it up your arses. Leave people alone. Is this clear enough for you to understand?

  12. Panasit says:

    Panasit (the real one, the one who post on liberal blogs such as AmericaBlog and Huffington Post since 2003 . The one who knows the meaning of the word. The ones whose name Panasit was given to him by his parents) to Panasit the Original.

    There are many reasons to invalidate Prop 8. But saying that majority voice shouldn’t win over minority goes against the idea of… well, an election. By that logic, with Democrat in the white house, Republican shouldn’t have to pay taxes.

    We don’t want to look like a sore-loser. We didn’t lose anything. The fact is prop 8 should not have been on the ballot.

    I understood the support to come out and advertised “say no to prop 8” before the election, it feels good to see so much support. But that actually hurt now. That meant we played along with them in a game that wasn’t supposed to be played.

    The thing is, there was an election, and for some twisted reason there are enough idiots to vote in favor of passing it. That’s democracy. Idiots win.

    Now we are going to say, Prop 8 shouldn’t have been on the ballot. Prop 8 isn’t constitutional.
    It’s like a drag race. We got into the car and drove as best we could, and then we lost. This whole thing is like getting out of our car and yell about how it is soooo illegal to drag race.

    There is only one way to solve this. It’s to hold those people that were responsible for putting that proposition to be voted on accountable. Who was the people that funded it? Who were the people who want to rob a group of minority their most basic undeniable rights? It’s discriminatory, and most importantly it undermine the constitution.

    To keep it simple: just taking on Prop 8 is not enough anymore. We would just be playing their games again. It’s like they won and we are arguing with them about their scores. We should attack the group responsible like what we did with the Boy Scout of America.

    It’s 2009. Time to stop turning the other cheek on bigotry. Prop 8 is not something to be debated on by pundit. It’s discriminatory. It’s a crime.

  13. Big Hank says:

    What’s up with these dueling panasits?

    Is the name trademarked — like the Olympics? You two are worse than the ‘anonymous’ we endless encounter on blogs large and small.

  14. Dmitris says:

    Big Hank – I guess better dueling panasits than dueling pantsuits?

  15. Aunt Peg says:

    I just can’t believe how hateful these opponents of gay marriage can be.

    I’m old enough to remember the disgust and outrage white America had when confronted with bi-racial couples. God forbid if they had children.

    But black Americans were equally offensive in their condemnation of mixed couples.

    This entire debate surrounding gay marriage makes no sense. 50% of straight marriages end in divorce by the 7th year. But the gay folks are trying to bring some dignity back to the institution and what do they get? Homophobic resistance.

    I’m sickened.

  16. VicoDANIEL says:

    Our system of government is a Representative Democracy, having built-in safeguards to protect the minority.

    Majority rule cannot dominate or oppress a protected class or group of people.

    Proposition 8 marks the first time in our history where rights are taken away from a group of people in a protected class, or a minority.

    Furthermore, the Mormon church violated IRS tax laws. The ban on political campaign activity by charities and churches was created by Congress more than a half century ago.

    In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban.

  17. Peace Nick says:

    Invalidate the damned thing.

    By what right do the fundamentalists think they have special rights to stomp on the rights of gay couple seeking the same legal rights they enjoy?

    California has always led the nation. Don’t become another Utah or Texas.

  18. Bel Ami says:

    If gays can’t marry then it becomes an issue of taxation without representation and gays need to bring a class action lawsuit against California.

    It’s a simple as this.

  19. Orenthal says:

    Hey, how come you need a marriage lisense to suck dick? I don’t get it.

  20. stradella says:

    Orenthal –

    Shame on you. Who do you think you are doing here making such a dumb ass comment?

    You think the right to take the rights of people away is some kind of barbershop clowning you can tell your friends about? You’re a fool.

    Just because of your lack of eduction doesn’t give you the pass to evolve.

  21. Tiny Dancer says:

    Equal rights are universal rights.

  22. Panasit says:

    All that you guys said are right. But the thing is, we played along with their game. To say that it is unconstitutional now is not enough. We need to go further than that and invalidate its entire existence and punish those who pushed this illegal bill forward.

    I know it sound scrazy. But you have no idea how bad it looks when a state wide election is held and it lost the popular vote. The Mormons counted on this. If we still continue to play their game (discussing about Prop 8 further IS playing their game) the more it seems like we are in denial of the popular vote.

    The battle against racism, against pro-life, against gun, against death penality, has never been fought in an election (in a definite constitution changing term). Because fact of the matter is, majority of Americans are conservative. Majority of Americans are pro-life, majority of Americans are pro-death penality. We can whine all we want about how stupid they are. Anybody who take sociology knows that a crowd is dumber than an individual. But that’s democracy and we love it. So when it comes to things that are so-called “no-brainer” like civil rights. We can’t fight it with a general election.

    WE DID for gay marriage, and that hurts us bad. We have to do more than coming out and say “it wasn’t constitutional!” That’s a big DUH! But the Californian voted on it fair and square and we lost.

  23. JollyRoger says:

    When I think about the money the Mor(m)ons have spent on this, and how many poor, destitute people they could have helped-the very people Jesus constantly admonished people to help-with that money, it makes me spitting mad.

    Where did Jesus ever say, “go out into the community, and enforce morality?” I do remember Jesus saying something about your actions being something you got to settle up when you died. Perhaps we could educate these Mor(m)ons on this, because they seem to have it ass-backwards.

    We have no right, and no reason, to try to enforce our concept of “morality” on anyone who isn’t doing other people any harm. Period. Bottom line. I am fully aware that people don’t get to choose who they love, but let’s just pretend for a minute and call what I do, and what you do, and what he/she does “lifestyle choices.” Does who you want to make a life with with have a damned bit of bearing on how I live? Why should I give a damn WHAT two consenting adults do to make themselves happy?

  24. Proposition 8 is an example of what happens when radical, religious dogma is allowed into the initiative process and informs and instruct public policy. It is a violation of the separation of church and state and blatantly homophobic.
    It is the latest example.

    Do not forget the many other states where this type of amendment passed.

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