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However High Court Rules on Prop. 8, Culture War Heating Up Again

Los Angeles WAVE, News Analysis, WAVE Staff Posted: May 26, 2009

The California Supreme Court won't reveal its ruling on legal challenges to Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriages in the state, until Tuesday, but advocates on both sides of the issue are already gearing up for action.

Both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage have said they expect a split decision -- that the high court will find that Proposition 8 legally amended the state Constitution to outlaw gay marriage, but will sanction the marriages of 18,000 same-sex couples who tied the knot after the court struck down Proposition 22, which also outlawed gay marriage.

Monday, a group calling itself the American Civil Responsibilities Union will hold a news conference at the California Supreme Court Building to announce plans to initiate a statewide effort to recall any state Supreme Court justices who vote to overturn Proposition 8.

The ACRU is being organized by retired eye doctor Howard Garber of Orange County and some other of the same activists who in the 1980s started ``Californians For A Responsible Supreme Court,'' which eventually succeeded in having Chief Justice Rose Bird recalled from the state Supreme Court because of her opposition to the death penalty.

"We believe homosexuality in all its manifestations is an unfortunate abnormality,'' the group said in a statement. ``However, we wish it understood that we fully support alternative civil unions between like sexes. As registered `domestic partnerships,' they should have all the state rights and responsibilities that are assumed in traditional marriages.

"It is again time to remind such biased, dictatorial, appointed justices who ignore the will of the people, here and nationally, that we citizens maintain our right to remove them from office if necessary via the recall.''

Following Tuesday's ruling on three cases challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which is to be revealed at 10 a.m. on the Supreme Court's Web site, attorneys for the plaintiff couples and community leaders will respond at a news conference at Leimert Park in South Los Angeles.

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and representatives from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center and ACLU of Southern California legal director Mark Rosenbaum are expected to take part.

Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the original lesbian plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court marriage equality suit, and a couple who cannot marry because of the passage of Prop. 8, will be at attorney Gloria Allred's office to react to the Supreme Court's decision.

The Latino Equality Alliance will hold a news conference and rally at the Los Angeles County Marriage License Office, and a rally and march are scheduled in West Hollywood, which also filed court papers opposing Proposition 8. The rally will begin at Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards at 7 p.m., followed by a march to Hollywood and back.

Other rallies are being planned in Long Beach and throughout the state. Eight years ago, California voters approved Proposition 22, which specified in state law that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in California. But in May 2008, the state Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional because it discriminated against gays, and an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples got married in the ensuing months.

Opponents of same-sex marriage quickly got Proposition 8 on the November ballot, and it was approved by a margin of 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent. The ban sparked outrage from gay rights advocates and prompted mass protests across the state.

In the days after the passage of Proposition 8, three lawsuits were filed directly with the state Supreme Court challenging the validity of the measure. A host of organizations filed petitions with the court in support of the challenges. The city and county of Los Angeles both joined a lawsuit filed by the city and county of San Francisco challenging the measure.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown also petitioned the state Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8. Brown noted that in the ruling overturning Proposition 22, the state Supreme Court found that the constitution guarantees that the right to marry cannot be denied to same-sex couples.

In their court papers, proponents of the measure attacked the view of opponents that Proposition 8 represents a radical change of the constitution that should have been required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

If the high court rules against gay marriage, advocates are expected to seek yet another ballot measure to make it legal again, and if the court overturns Proposition 8, opponents of gay marriage are expected to try and ban it again.

Some gay activists feel that America is becoming more tolerant of gay rights in general, and point to the fact that five states -- Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont -- have legalized same-sex marriage.

Related Articles:

Gay Marriage Meets the Immigration Debate

Focus on the Family Vastly Outpaced Mormon Spending on Proposition 8

Family Rejection a Health Risk for Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Youth

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