Led by Equality California, a coalition of gay rights groups have petitioned the state Supreme Court to remove the anti-gay marriage initiative from the November ballot.
Gay-rights advocates asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to remove a proposed state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage from the November ballot, saying it would destroy fundamental rights that cannot be legally altered by a voter initiative.
The suit was filed by organizations representing gay and lesbian couples in the case that led to the court’s May 15 ruling striking down the state law that excluded them from marriage – a ruling the Nov. 4 initiative would reverse. Like one of the laws that the court overturned, the initiative declares that “only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
In papers filed four days after the legalized same-sex weddings began around the state, advocacy groups argued that the measure would change the state’s Constitution so profoundly that it would amount to a revision. Under the law, the Constitution cannot be revised by initiative alone – a two-thirds legislative approval is also needed before the measure goes to the voters.
“If enacted, (the November initiative) would eviscerate the principle of equal citizenship for gay and lesbian people and strip the courts of their authority to enforce basic constitutional guarantees,” said Stephen Bomse, lawyer for the groups.
He said the measure would “destabilize our Constitution and our basic government plan … by establishing that any group may be deprived of equal protection and fundamental rights through a simple majority vote.”
The lawsuit also contends that the initiative petitions circulated to voters before the court ruling were misleading because they declared that the measure would make no change in the marriage laws and would have no fiscal impact.