Calif. Supreme Court Hears Prop 8 Arguments

Court weighs constitutionality of ballot initiative, effect on couples married before the ban
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 5, 2009 1:07 PM CST
Jacob Whipple, right, and Drew Cloud, of Salt Lake City, Utah, walk among demonstrators during a protest on the issue of Proposition 8 in San Francisco today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – California Supreme Court justices heard arguments today on lawsuits seeking to overturn the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage as thousands demonstrated outside the San Francisco courthouse. Gay-rights advocates are urging the court to overturn Proposition 8 on the grounds it was put before voters improperly, or at least prematurely. The measure's sponsors argue that it would be a miscarriage of justice for the court to overturn the results of a fair election.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on three points: Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California constitution; does it violate the separation of powers doctrine; and if it's not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8? The Supreme Court's seven justices have 90 days after the oral arguments to issue a ruling.