Lawsuit Challenging Proposition 8 Filed

Attorney General says 18,000 marriages since June still valid

Three legal groups filed a writ petition Wednesday with the state Supreme Court, urging the invalidation of Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.

The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians.

“If the voters approved an initiative that took the right to free speech away from women, but not from men, everyone would agree that such a measure conflicts with the basic ideals of equality enshrined in our constitution. Proposition 8 suffers from the same flaw – it removes a protected constitutional right – here, the right to marry – not from all Californians, but just from one group of us,” said Jenny Pizer, a staff attorney with Lambda Legal. “That’s too big a change in the principles of our constitution to be made just by a bare majority of voters.”

California voters adopted the constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, overturning the state Supreme Court decision that gave gay couples the right to wed just months ago, 52 to 48 percent.   Sponsors of the ban have declared victory, but the measure's opponents say too many votes remained uncounted for the result to be final.

The suit was filed today in the California Supreme Court on behalf of Equality California and six same-sex couples who did not marry before Tuesday’s election but would like to be able to marry now.  California Attorney General Jerry Brown said that the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who married between June 16, 2008 and the passage of the proposition are still valid and must continue to be honored by the state.

Reaction to Proposition 8 was mixed in Hillcrest Wednesday. 

"I'm actually a little disappointed," said Joe Piluso. "I was hoping it wouldn't pass.  I thought considering California had gone for Obama.  I got the impression California was really changing in a way.  I don't know why people would be opposed to that sort of thing. You know, people getting married.  If they're in love and they want to make a family with their lives why shouldn't they be permitted to do it?"

Brad Sund, a Prop 8 supporter said, "I voted yes on it yesterday. I am a traditional conservative. I believe in marriage between a man and a woman.  I am probably a minority in this area.  But I hold to my Christian values too."

Spending for and against the amendment has reached $74 million, making it the most expensive social-issues campaign in U.S. history and the most expensive campaign this year outside the race for the White House.

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