American Foundation for Equal Rights

Court says backers can defend gay marriage measure

Lisa Leff at the Associated Press writes:

“The sponsors of ballot propositions 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 in a precedent-setting ruling that could prove pivotal to the future of the state’s same-sex marriage ban and its notoriously vigorous citizens’ initiative process.

“Responding to a question from a federal appeals court that is considering the constitutionality of the state’s voter-approved 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 unanimous ruling written by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye states.

‘”We are very anxious to move forward on the merits,’ former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson said.

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