SACRAMENTO -- California’s top prosecutor used her refusal to defend Proposition 8, a voter-passed initiative that bans same-sex marriage in California, as an example of Democratic values as she spoke to party activists on Saturday.
“When I ran for attorney general, I promised we would never stand in the chapel door. We said we don’t need to read the polls, we need to read the Constitution,” Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris said shortly after the attendees of the California Democratic Party convention gave her a standing ovation. “We said the state of California should not and will not stand in defense of any law that deprives people of their fundamental rights.”
The law, which says that only a marriage between a man and a woman is recognized in California, was passed by voters in 2008 and is facing legal challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last month on the measure and is expected to issue its rulings in June.
The Republican National Committee, meeting in Hollywood on Friday, unanimously passed a resolution urging the Supreme Court to uphold the matter.
Harris, who is widely viewed as a likely candidate for higher office, said that those who argue that states ought to have the authority to define marriage are just denying the inevitable.
“But we know justice cannot be served cold,” she said. “We know wait is just a substitute for never…. Democrats, let’s make this the year we don’t take wait for an answer. Now is the time!”
Two hours later, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state’s most prominent supporter of gay marriage because of his decision as San Francisco mayor in 2004 to direct the city to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, seized upon Prop. 8 as well.
“It’s about standing upon principle and having the courage of our convictions. It’s about saying publicly what we all too often say privately, just as we did in 2004 in San Francisco,” said Newsom, who is viewed as Harris’ main competition for higher office.
“We now stand on the precipice of history… As early as this summer we will right the wrong of Prop. 8 and allow loving couples – regardless of sexual orientation – to live their lives out loud and say “I Do!”