SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The sponsors of ballot proposition sponsors can step in to defend their initiatives from legal challenges if the governor and attorney general refuse to do so, California’s highest court said Thursday.

Responding to a pivotal question from a federal appeals court that is considering the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban, the California Supreme Court said the lawmaking power granted to citizens under the state constitution doesn’t end once propositions have been approved or rejected by voters.

“We conclude that California law authorizes the official proponents, under such circumstances, to appear in the proceeding to assert the state’s interest in the initiative’s validity and to appeal a judgment invalidating the measure,” the ruling states.

The ruling establishes a state precedent that could be used in other ballot initiative cases the attorney general or governor decline to defend. Although instances are rare of state officials refusing to appeal rulings that are adverse to voter-approved laws, they have come up in California every couple decades or so.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asked the state court in January to clarify who is eligible to fight for voter-approved initiatives in court when state officials opt not to.

The panel said the question was unsettled under both federal and California law, but central to its deliberations in the ongoing Proposition 8 skirmish because if the backers of the 2008 gay marriage initiative lack legal standing, it must dismiss the case.

The coalition of religious and conservative groups that qualified Proposition 8 for the ballot and successfully campaigned for its passage asked the 9th Circuit to reverse a federal trial judge’s ruling in August 2010 striking down the measure as a violation of gay Californians’ civil rights.

Both former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown, in his previous role as state attorney general, took the unusual step of refusing to appeal the decision.

The appeals court panel now must decide whether to accept the court’s guidance and if so, how to apply it to Proposition 8.

Lawyers for the two gay couples who successfully sued to overturn the ban in the lower court have argued that if the ban’s backers did not have the right to appeal, the trial judge’s decision would stand and same-sex marriages would be legal in California for the first time since Proposition 8 passed.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Comments (36)
  1. Lance Neufeld says:

    I wonder how far off the law is allowing people to “marry” their pets. It amazes me that normal, intelligent people would want to defend two deviants’ “rights” to be married! Call it a union, call it a contract, call it a partnership, but it is NOT a marriage!!

    1. Ryan says:

      If you truly believe the actions of gays are “deviant”, then why would you submit to letting them make the semantic differentiation by using a different term? In essence, you’re conceding that gays have a right to formally be together in legal standing, but just not be allowed to use the term “Married” or “marriage”. It makes your argument hallow and useless. You’ve drawn a line in the sand that is completely meaningless.

    2. Supporter says:

      Seems to me Lance, that you are the twisted one…..

    3. John says:

      I don’t think you have it correct, friend…..What these perverted, twisted-minded sickos do with their lives is their business….but don’t come and try to shove down my throat that they are NORMAL because they are NOT! They are sick in the head and need to be treated in order to help them be what they were born to be!! That’s why they were born with the “tools”! SICKOS!

      1. Paul says:

        I would say discriminating bigots like you are the real sickos, but you’re probably just misguided or ignorant on this issue and insults don’t get people anywhere.

        What do you mean by ‘sick’ or ‘normal’ even. Gay people have something that isn’t average but every trait varies a lot between people. Just being different doesn’t make people bad. Weather they were born gay or chose to be, I don’t see any reason why it’s wrong. promiscuity spreads STDs, some gays have hella sex but more strait people do, that’s the only harmful thing I can see and it’s not gay-exclusive. You need to study genetics and look at how varied organism are in any population, especially in behavior, before you make simplistic ‘if it has the tool’ arguments. Plus few things have 1 purpose – the tool in question also excretes urine, if it can only have 1 purpose, are you sure it’s not that rather than going in women’s down below bits? Do you think it going in moths is wrong too? A pencil can be used to scratch an itch, as well as to draw, things have multiple purposes some which might not be what they were intended for just because the tool’s 2nd most important purpose is procreation. Why do you think they chose to do this if they do?

        Saying something in all caps with multiple exclamation marks doesn’t make it more true.

    4. Paul says:

      Almost like that time people from different races got the legal right to marry. What’s next, legalizing everything other than the missionary position?

      How do we let disgusting things like that happen, next thing you know we’ll legalize gross out comedy and food we personally don’t like!

      Obviously the word matters more than weather they can do it or not. Killing someone is fine but not if you call it murder, them right?

  2. TAX RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS! says:

    Time to revisit the issue of separation of church and state. There are too many loopholes in the financial influence of politics and church contributions. If religious groups form our laws and fund politicians, then they should, overall, pay their fair share. TAX THE CHURCHES!!

    1. Bill Monroe says:

      What a silly, silly comment. It demonstrates a total lack of knowledge of the constitution, history, and fundamental logic.

      1. John says:

        & what did you expect from a sod-o-mite?

      2. Harry Bush says:

        Excuse me, the separation of church and state means that if a church has any dealings with state, it has broken that barrier and has in essence became a lobbying institution with the state, which means it loses its tax exempt status. The reason no church has ever lost it is the fallout people fear it would cause, even though BY LAW AND CONSTITUTION the churches that do these things should have to pay taxes. The Mormon church especially is guilty of this with their funding of prop 8. Hold what ever view you want on gay marriage, but don’t come in here with your attacks on people for not understanding the constitution when it is you that doesn’t understand it.

  3. Marty says:

    Religion and politics are two things that simply do not mix. When will people realize this? Other countries have gotten with the times and they’ve been Christian longer that America has.

    All men are created equal. That’s what America was founded on. We should uphold that belief. By allowing this ruling, we will continue to allow discrimination. In this day and age, discrimination should have no place in our society.

    1. John says:

      Yeah, well, this is the USA and NOT the other countries. If you like the other countries then MOVE THERE! We are NOT STOPPING YOU! SICKO! LOL

      1. Harry Bush says:

        Read the constitution and the history, especially on civil rights, of this country before you spout such things.

      2. Paul says:

        You’re in a country that elected a pro-gay president so if anyone should leave maybe it’s you? If you think people who don’t agree with the majority should get out of the country, you don’t know what America is. A democracy where different views are meant to thrive and have voice. Separation of powers though – the judiciary (constitution) has the power to over-rule legislatures and executives.

        Unlike most other countries, the US has no state religion. It was founded on secularism to avoid the holy wars that were burning Europe at the time. Read how Jefferson himself interpreted the 1st amendment if you don’t believe there’s a separation. The US has acted like it has this separation for so long though, that it doesn’t matter if the founders wrote it (though they did) the US for as long as you lived has had one de facto. If you don’t want to be in a secular county go live in England with it’s state-supported Anglican church, Sweden with it’s state Protestantism, or Spain with it’s state supported Catholicism.

        Way to avoid Marty’s comment

  4. Marty says:

    If closed-minded intolerant people like you had your way, LGBT people would have their citizenship taken away and would have absolutely no rights at all. Not the right to love, the right to vote or even the right to live. Discrimination has no place in American society. Go join Fred Phelps if you’re so hateful.

    The United States needs to move forward. The rest of the world is moving forward and we’re the only country moving backwards. No wonder China is kicking our ass.

    1. pumpkinpie says:

      Well now aren’t you just ducky that is exactly what you gay birds are attempting to do to the citizens of Calif. by taking away are most cherished rights to vote and choose, you my dear are discriminating against all who dissagree with your lifestyle, you are right YOU have no place in american society for doing that. hey I have a second cousin who belongs to those unpatriotic morons who blast the military who have fought to give those Kansas NUTS the right to protest, that goes for you too. Move to one of those forward countrys that copy everything the USA does because WE are so far ahead of them, get outa here get going twirp how dare you insult our country and the men and women who have fought and died for it and so you can have your perverted lifestyle. I am a lady but I would enjoy kicking your behind… everything we buy that comes from China falls apart or shrinks the second time we use or wear it. Get your butt to China, hurry up already.

      1. Harry Bush says:

        Learn your history, Pumpkinple:

        “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.”
        -Thomas Jefferson

        This is a republic, not a democracy. Rights can NOT be voted away from any minority just because the majority votes that way. Again, that is what the civil rights movement was for. For someone so “patriotic”, you sure seem to hate all these civil rights we are SUPPOSED to have for everyone. And it is very ironic that you say that about the troops. You mean the gay men and women that were kicked out for so long just for being gay, when they fought for your right to be a bigot? They weren’t fighting for your right to take their rights away. No one has a right to vote another’s rights away, follow the constitution and the laws that came from the civil rights movement.

        Again, we are a republic, not a democracy, and we have safeguards to prevent people like you from taking minority’s rights away, it’s called the constitution.

      2. Paul says:

        How many laws were voted on by a direct referendum in the US? The civil rights act certainly wasn’t and might not have passed if it was, same for the laws allowing women to vote and work. You think they should be repealed or have a referendum? You have higher standards for this law (Which you don’t like) than anything else, because you just want an excuse to bash this.

        Separation of powers. An independent judiciary is up there with congress and the white house. If you don’t like that take it up with the founders. It’s shaped the US laws.

        The constitution and 14th amendment were brought in by force – with enough people on the other side (loyalists, confederates) for a civil war. Should they be repealed too because they sure as heck aren’t democratic.

        You don’t have a right to impinge on the rights of others – certainly not a legal right.

        This has nothing to do with the military – there are a lot of gays in the army you seem to hate and you’d probably ‘support the troops’ by sending them to die in some needless war somewhere. The US copies and depends on the rest of the world more than you’d expect and less than it needs if it wants to succeed. If you think the US wouldn’t suffer if we stopped buying stuff from China you’re as out there as someone who thinks they have a right to take rights from others – oh wait.

        The USA elected a left-wing pro-gay democrat as president. Looks like YOU are the one who’s in the wrong country. I’ll kick your ass and send you on a plane to Iran or Uganda, see how you like a county that treats gays (and women) like you do.

  5. John says:

    Nobody is talking about taking citizenship away for anyone. Quit trying to twist my typing to fit your perverted needs. What these perverted, twisted-minded sickos do with their lives is their business….but don’t come and try to shove down my throat that they are NORMAL because they are NOT! They are sick in the head and need to be treated in order to help them be what they were born to be!! That’s why they were born with the “tools”! SICKOS! & China can have all the sickos they want, I don’t care….actually, you should join them since you admire them so much.

    1. Harry Bush says:

      Ironic, you talking about shoving beliefs down other’s throats. That is what you are doing by preventing marriage. Marriage has meant many things throughout the years, and has nothing to do with religion anymore. It used the be a property agreement between 2 families, where the man would own the women and any other property the women’s family would give him for the marriage. And now, ATHEISTS can get married, yet gay Christians can’t. Nothing to do with religion.

      What we need to do IF you people insist it is still religious and religious only, is get rid of “marriage” in government. We need civil unions for everyone to have all the legal benefits marriage currently offers, and leave marriage to churches, with no legal powers associated with it. You can get married in a church and then go get a civil union at the county court house. Gays can then find a liberal church to get “married” along with their union, if they so choose.

      But this argument about the “sanctity” and what marriage means is complete BS.

    2. Paul says:

      What is it with homophobes and talking about shoving things down their throats?

      Your comments seem like spam John since you’re saying the same thing in every post. Wonder who you’re copying your ideas from?

      China hates gays as much as you maybe you’d like to move there? We know you would like to go further than taking away marriage rights if you could.

  6. Marty says:

    First of all, shut up. Second of all, these people are human beings just like you and me. They are not sick. They are born that way. It is not a disease. It has been proven by scientists. The American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental illness in 1973 and the American Psychological Association did so in 1975. Yet there are those who believe that the Bible should be above anything and everything else. If we followed the Bible word for word and made it the law of the land, then slavery would still be allowed, contraception would be banned, interracial and interfaith marriages wouldn’t be allowed and every minor sin would be punished with death.

    Religion is not a bad thing, but people like you want to take it too far. And I am not perverted. In fact, I am a straight Catholic. If anything, I should be going to Hell for eating meat on Fridays, laughing at Jewish comedians, watching cartoons from Japan or believing in equality for all Americans. The United States is not a second class nation. And no American should be treated as a second class citizen.

    And the reason China is kicking our ass is because we’re letting them. The Republicans and some Democrats want people to think that survival of the fittest, laissez-faire capitalism is the Christian way. And that large corporations should continue to make as much profit as possible and outsource as many jobs as possible to China at the expense of hard working Americans like us. The United States is NOT a country of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation. That’s what needs to change.

    1. FLOP says:

      Hey Marty. I hope you are not holding your breath in anticipation of John’s silly rebuttal. He’s busy pulling up a tarp to shelter his cardboard home..down by the river.

      It’s funny. I have the exact distaste of what John does in his bedroom, oh wait, he doesn’t have one. Anyway, point is, just as much I find pounding a vagina disgusting, I don’t go around trying to take away any civil right from him. Or to criticize him for munching on carpet.

      Cheers!

  7. manuel says:

    voice of the voters shall overcome, once in a while

    1. Harry Bush says:

      You can’t vote to take away minority rights, have you heard about the civil rights movement in history class? There is a reason they are called “rights”, you cannot take them away.

    2. Paul says:

      The judiciary is impartial to voting for a reason mate, read the constitution.

  8. pumpkinpie says:

    Listen up Harry Bushes how dare you put our civil rights movements in the same catagory with the gay rights movement. Have your own gay movement but don’t stick it in with ours, there is no comparison what so ever.

    1. FLOP says:

      Hey pumkin. If you remove the whole religious element out of this debate then it is exactly identical to “your” civil rights movement.

      Please try thinking outside of “your” box.

    2. Harry Bush says:

      The extent to wish how bad things were does NOT negate the fact that it is of the same struggle: A minority group fighting the majority to gain the same rights everyone else has.

      So I should be saying to YOU how dare you put your civil rights movement ahead of anyone else. Civil rights are for all, not just for those that have went through the biggest struggle. No one should have to struggle for their rights, that is why they are called rights. Stop lowering other people, as you said, your people fought to end this, and now a great percent of “your people” are trying to keep another minority down.

      1. Paul says:

        The extent was larger (at the same time) for gays than blacks. When a black is president, gays are having trouble getting to marry. Homosexuality was ILLEGAL In 1960. It was death penalty when blacks were slaves.

      2. BillM says:

        The entire fallacy of your argument Harry Bush, is that you are claiming for yourself a “special right”, and calling it a civil right. No heterosexual has the “civil right” to marry someone of the same sex either. You already have the same rights everyone else has. The vast majority of Americans, including those who oppose same-sex marriage, know that the homosexual is created in Gods image every bit as much as is the heterosexual; and acknowledge that the gay man or woman has a right to love whom he or she wants and that commitment has the right to be given legal protections.

        But radically redefining the most important institution in the life of a civilization; and routinely labeling as the moral equivalent of racists every individual who does not want children regularly asked whether they will marry a boy or a girl when grown up, and who rightly fears that every traditional religious community will be labeled as a hate group — these are not commensurate with civil rights.

        How can a seriously moral individual compare forcing a black bus rider to sit in the back of a bus or to give up his seat to a white who demands it, or prohibiting a black human being from drinking from the same water fountain or eating at the same lunch counter as a white human being, or being denied the right to vote, or being prohibited from attending a school with whites, let alone being periodically lynched, to either the general gay condition today or specifically to being given the right to redefine marriage for society?

        Harry, just like calling special rights, “civil rights”, you believe in changing definitions, and then wanting others “to shut up, or be taxed…I refer to your earier comments.”

    3. Paul says:

      Gay people were and still are in many places executed for their orientation. Blacks as far as I know it were never killed-en-mass like that. Ergo gays got discriminated against more.

      When blacks couldn’t go to school with whites, gays couldn’t openly exist without going to jail in the 1960s – being black has never been illegal right?

      Employers might discriminate against blacks but do you really think gay people don’t experience that or worse being a smaller, more hated minority?

      Don’t try to shame us, from showing how shameful you are being as a black woman for trying to take the rights from another minority. No election gave you the right to get out of the cotton field a civil war did. No referendum let you as a woman vote or work. The supreme court pushed civil rights before congress was ready that’s how you got it.

  9. sassafrass says:

    Why do you refuse to post my comments Some gay big shots must be large Comcast sponsers no doubt, it does not matter, gays want to destroy Christianity because God calls homosexuality an abomination and that is the only reason they want to marry, it has nothing to do with love what-so-ever it is their attempt at vengence against GOD. Put the truth in your pipes and smokeum. GOD BLESS AMERICA

    1. Harry Bush says:

      Obvious troll.

  10. sassafrass says:

    I love and believe in GOD Harry Bush if ya don’t like it thats your problem.

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