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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / SAN FRANCISCO

Brown to respond to Proposition 8 lawsuits

November 13, 2008|Maura Dolan

The California Supreme Court asked Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown on Wednesday to respond to three lawsuits seeking to overturn Proposition 8, the anti-gay-marriage initiative passed by voters.

The state high court, meeting in closed session, gave Brown's office until noon Monday to present preliminary arguments on why the ballot measure should survive the legal challenges.

Opponents of Proposition 8 argue that it was a sweeping revision of the state Constitution, rather than a more limited amendment. A revision alters basic principles of the Constitution and can be placed on the ballot only by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. Proposition 8 reached the ballot as the result of a petition drive.

The measure was intended to overturn a California Supreme Court ruling that gave same-sex couples the right to marry. The 4-3 ruling May 15 also elevated sexual orientation to the protective status of race and gender, which the initiative did not change.

The court could rule on the challenges, dismiss them or refer them to a lower court.

-- Maura Dolan

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