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Court to decide who defends Prop 8 – same-sex marriage law may hang in the balance

A protest taking voice against Proposition 8.
A protest taking voice against Proposition 8.
Rene Rivers/Flickr

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In a hearing this morning, the California Supreme Court heard arguments whether or not sponsors of ballot initiatives should have the right to defend them in court.

This decision will figure strongly in the Proposition 8 debate, as the proponents of that measure want to be able to defend the ban against same-sex marriage ballot measure after state Attorney General Kamala Harris and Governor Jerry Brown refused to challenge that decision. During an hour of arguments, several state high court justices suggested the initiative system would be rendered meaningless if there was no one to defend ballot measures from court challenges.

What will this all mean to same-sex marriage laws in California and possibly around the country?


Vikram Amar, professor of law, UC Davis