Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Religious Groups Ask California Supreme Court To Void Proposition 8

Yesterday the California Council of Churches along with a number of liberal Protestant and Jewish groups filed a "Petition for Writ of Mandate or Prohibition" (full text) with the California Supreme Court seeking to prevent enforcement of Proposition 8 that was approved by voters earlier this month. (Press release). The petition alleges that the state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage was adopted using improper procedures. California's constitution (Art. XVIII) has stricter requirements for constitutional "revisions" than it does for "amendments." Only amendments can be adopted through the initiative process-- the route used for Proposition 8. Revisions require a two-thirds vote of the legislature before being submitted to voters. The Petition filed with the Supreme Court reads in part:
The religious institutions that file this petition ... count on article XVIII to ensure that the California Constitution's guarantee of equal protection for religious minorities cannot be taken away without a deliberative process of the utmost care possible in a representative democracy. If Proposition 8 is upheld, however, the assurance will disappear-- for, just as surely as gay men and lesbians could be deprived of equal protection by a simple majority vote, so too could religious minorities be deprived of equal protection-- a terrible irony in a nation founded by people who emigrated to escape religious persecution.
Six separate legal challenges to Proposition 8 have been filed with the California Supreme Court. (San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 17). [Thanks to Don Clark for the lead.]