Attorney General Brown Renews Call for California Supreme Court to Strike Down Proposition 8

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

Sacramento -- Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today renewed his call for the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8 because it deprives people of the right to marry—an aspect of liberty that the Supreme Court has concluded is guaranteed by the California Constitution.

“The amendment process cannot be used by a bare majority to strip away the fundamental and inalienable rights of a protected minority without a compelling justification,” Attorney General Brown said. “Since there is no compelling justification, Proposition 8 must be stricken.”

Attorney General Brown today responded to the 63 “Friend of the Court” briefs that were filed last week with the California Supreme Court. Brown contends that the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights enshrined in article I, section 1 of the California Constitution without compelling justification. The court found in the In re Marriage Cases that no such compelling justification exists. Accordingly, Proposition 8 must be stricken.

Brown also takes on the arguments of supporters of Proposition 8 head on.

Brown argues that Proposition 8 supporters are wrong to suggest that the people’s right to amend the Constitution through the initiative process is unlimited and that the Court does not have the authority to invalidate Proposition 8. The Court, in fact, has exercised judicial review previously to invalidate a constitutional amendment that was deemed substantively improper.

He also argues Proposition 8 does not invalidate the same-sex marriages entered into between June 16 and November 4, 2008, as some Proposition 8 supporters contend. To invalidate those marriages, Brown argues, would violate the due process rights of those same-sex couples who entered into marriage based on the Court’s ruling in In re: Marriage Cases.

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