Things are moving quickly:
The California Supreme Court has asked state Attorney General Jerry Brown to reply by Monday to lawsuits challenging the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage – a sign that the justices are taking the cases seriously and will not dispose of them quickly. Two groups of gay and lesbian couples and local governments led by the city of San Francisco filed the suits a day after the Nov. 4 election, when Proposition 8 passed with a 52 percent majority.
They argue that the initiative, a state constitutional amendment, violates other provisions of the California Constitution by taking rights away from a historically persecuted minority group and stripping judges of their power to protect that group. The couples’ suits contend that Prop. 8 makes such fundamental changes that it amounts to a constitutional revision, which can be placed on the ballot only by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.
Brown has said he will defend Prop. 8 in court while also supporting the legality of an estimated 18,000 weddings performed under the court’s May 15 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
The filing the court requested from Brown’s office will not address the ballot measure’s validity, but will focus instead on the initial questions of whether the justices should accept the suits for review – and, if so, whether they should suspend Prop. 8 while they decide the case, said the state’s lawyer, Christopher Krueger, a senior assistant attorney general. Suspending Prop. 8 would allow same-sex marriages to resume.