Lawyers try to cut California marriage amendment from ballot
Homosexual-rights advocates have asked California’s Supreme Court to block citizens from voting this fall on a measure voters originally brought to the ballot: Proposition 8, the California Marriage Protection Act.
Proposition 8, so labeled when Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified it earlier this month for placement on the Nov. 4 ballot, is a constitutional amendment that states, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The amendment was created by voter initiative with the signatures of 1.1 million voters, more than the required 694,354 needed to place an issue on the ballot.
Lawyers representing the ACLU and the homosexual-rights group Equality California, however, filed a petition earlier this month in the state’s highest court to strike Proposition 8 from the ballot. The opponents claimed the measure is not merely an amendment, but a revision, which a lawyer told WND is defined as a radical rewrite of the Constitution that would drastically upset the social fabric of California and require convening a constitutional convention to approve.
Liberty Counsel founder Mathew Staver told WND that if there was any radical reconstruction of California’s social fabric, it was done last month when the state Supreme Court ignored over a century of precedent in the its definition of marriage with a 4-3 ruling that deemed a law defining marriage between one man and one woman unconstitutional.
“They’re suggesting the Supreme Court can rewrite the entire institution of marriage, but people can’t amend the Constitution to go back to its historical definition,” Staver said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous to argue that courts can turn society upside down in 30 days, but the people have no right to define it.”
Criticizing homosexual marriage’s legal advocates, Staver said, “Their agenda is to trample the will of the people and elevate by force the will of four individuals on the Supreme Court over the will of millions of voters.”
Today Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation organization dedicated to religious freedom and the traditional family, filed a motion in the state’s Supreme Court to intervene in the case, allowing Randy Thomasson of Campaign for California Families and former California Assemblyman Larry Bowler to defend Proposition 8.
Stating that the state’s current attorney general has never effectively defended traditional marriage, Staver told WND, “It’s prudent to have a rigorous defense of Proposition 8. These two guys have been involved in the ‘gay’ marriage issue for years, and they would be disenfranchised if same-sex groups succeed at blocking them from voting.”
California voters first sought to protect the traditional definition of marriage when in 2000 a ballot initiative called Proposition 22 was passed with 61.4 percent, or roughly 4.6 million people, voting in favor of it.
Last month, however, the state’s Supreme Court ruled Proposition 22 unconstitutional, opening the doors for same-sex marriages in California, which began earlier this month.
Even before the landmark case, aware that Proposition 22 might be overturned, many of the state’s citizens began work on collecting signatures for initiating a constitutional amendment that would define marriage between one man and one woman. Now that their initiative, Proposition 8, has been certified for the Nov. 4 general election, only a court order can prevent the people from voting on it.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen “has a ministerial duty to certify any initiative when they qualify through the petition process,” a spokesman for the secretary told the Associated Press. “She can’t remove an initiative without a judge’s order.”
The Associated Press also reports that two ballot propositions were challenged in 2005, but that the state Supreme Court overruled lower courts on both cases and allowed the propositions to remain on the ballot.
Staver told WND that the attempt to manipulate the courts to trump the will of the people is an elitist approach to social change.
“Same-sex marriage advocates think that voters are ignorant and backwards because they support traditional marriage,” he said.
Therefore, he said, they use courts in an “absolute dictator approach to force ‘gay’ marriage down the throats of California citizens.”
Further, Staver warned, if judges disarm people from voting, effectively rendering their political voice impotent, “the people will not sit back and allow courts to suppress their freedom to vote.”
Ron Prentice, chairman of the ProtectMarriage.com Executive Committee, previously told WND, “The people’s overwhelming support to protect the longstanding meaning of marriage as between a man and a woman has been staggering. The California Marriage Amendment will allow the people of California, not politicians or judges, to reaffirm the definition of marriage by placing it in the Constitution.”
Of 28 states where such an amendment has been considered, voters in 27 states – all but Arizona – have passed the amendment. A Los Angeles Times poll last month reported 54 percent of Californians polled supported the amendment, while 35 percent opposed it. A simple majority of the vote is needed to add Proposition 8 to the California Constitution.