California Attorney General Jerry Brown (photo: Jerry Brown for Attorney General 2010)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With six lawsuits filed in the California Supreme Court and an attorney general who many say opposes Proposition 8, the battle against traditional marriage is still raging in California.
This week Attorney General Jerry Brown asked the court to review lawsuits filed by homosexual advocates against the California Marriage Protection Act, a constitutional amendment declaring that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
On Nov. 4, 52 percent of California voters passed the amendment to the state constitution.
However, Brown, the official responsible for seeing that state laws are uniformly and adequately enforced, told the court complaints by “gay” advocates must be addressed “to provide certainty and finality.” He asked for a quick ruling, saying the ban on same-sex marriage should remain in effect until the court reviews the lawsuits.
Some Proposition 8 supporters fear Brown can’t be trusted to defend the will of California voters. The attorney general altered ballot language from a constitutional amendment to put a “limit on marriage” to “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Initiative.”
Brown claimed the wording was neutral and accurate.
In August, Brown also gave his legal opinion that Prop. 8 should not nullify “marriages” of already wedded “gays.”
“I believe that marriages that have been entered into subsequent to the (May 15) Supreme Court opinion will be recognized by the California Supreme Court,” Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I would think the court, in looking at the underlying equities, would most probably conclude that upholding the marriages performed in that interval (before the election) would be a just result.”
In a statement to the New York Times this week, Brown reiterated his belief that 18,000 homosexual “marriages” performed before the election should remain valid.
The California court may decide tomorrow whether to review the lawsuits – and whether to order a stay on Prop. 8 until a ruling is issued. Brown’s office told the Times same-sex couples would be “left uncertain as to the ultimate legal standing of their marriages” should the court issue a stay on the measure.
One of the lawsuits is being filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Legal Director Shannon Price Minter said she is pleased that Brown is “so strongly supporting review.”
Supporters of the amendment are also urging the court to quickly issue a ruling. Prop. 8 campaign manager Frank Schubert said he is confident the law is on the side of voters; however, he expressed concern that Brown would not defend their interests.
“We are not confident the attorney general will vigorously defend Proposition 8 in light of his strong opposition to the measure,” Schubert said.
Two of the most recent lawsuits to overturn Prop. 8 were filed Monday – including one on behalf of the California Council on Churches, the Episcopal Bishop of California, the General Synod of the United Church of Christ, the Progressive Jewish Alliance and the Unitarian Universalist Assn. of Congregations.
On Monday, the non-profit legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel filed a preliminary opposition with the California Supreme Court explaining why it should not review petitions to overturn Prop. 8.
The legal group said the amendment was properly enacted by California voters and is not a “revision” that needs the legislature’s approval, as “gay” marriage advocates claim. It also said the lawsuits “threaten the people’s right to amend the constitution by initiative.”
“The people of California have spoken by affirming traditional marriage,” said founder Mathew D. Staver. “It is time to move on. Fourteen words that reaffirm the historic and common sense definition of marriage are not a radical revision to the Constitution. It is a simple affirmation of what has been and should always be.”