gay_cityhall_gavel.jpgSupporters of California’s ban on same-sex marriage told the U.S. Supreme Court today that defining marriage is a states’ rights matter and that Californians’ choice of a traditional definition in 2008 should be honored.

“The definition of marriage has always been understood to be the virtually exclusive province of the states,” the sponsors of Proposition 8 wrote in a brief submitted to the high court.

“And we submit that countless Californians of good will have opted in good faith to preserve the traditional definition of marriage because they believe it continues to meaningfully serve important societal interests,” the sponsors said.

Proposition 8, enacted by 52 percent of voters in November 2008, amended the state Constitution to provide that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

The initiative’s sponsors and their committee, Protect Marriage, are asking the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling in which the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in San Francisco last year that the measure violated the federal Constitution.

The appeals court said that because same-sex marriage was legal in California for several months in 2008 before Proposition 8 was passed, it was unconstitutional for the measure to withdraw that right for no reason other than animosity toward homosexuals.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the appeal on March 26 and is due to issue a decision by the end of June.

The sponsors outlined their claims in an opening brief filed today.

Two couples who challenged Proposition 8 in a civil rights lawsuit and the city of San Francisco have a Feb. 21 deadline for filing a response. The sponsors have until March 19 to submit a reply.

The 9th Circuit ruling has been put on hold and Proposition 8 has remained in effect until the high court rules.

Nine states and the District of Columbia now allow gay and lesbian marriage while 41 others have prohibited it through laws or state constitutional amendments.

The Proposition 8 supporters’ brief says the nation is currently engaged in a “great debate” and that the high court “should allow the public debate regarding marriage to continue through the democratic process, both in California and throughout the nation.”

The filing contends the purpose of the initiative was not to dishonor gays and lesbians.

Instead, the sponsors say, it was reasonable for California voters to believe that restricting marriage to male-female unions will “increase the likelihood that children will be born and raised in stable and enduring family units by their own mothers and fathers.”

In another section of the brief, the sponsors, answering a question posed by the Supreme Court, argue they had the legal authority to step in to defend the measure in court after Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Kamala Harris declined to do so.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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  • Soonerdiver

    If it is a State’s right to define marriage and not the Federal Government then how do you equate DOMA? There is a major case on-going at Ft. Bragg, NC; where a gay couple was legally married in one of the states that recognize gay marriage. One of the couple is a serving member of the U.S. Army and now the spouse wants to join the Officer’s Spouse Club on base. She was denied because the club by-laws say you must have a military ID card to become a member; and owing to DOMA this lady can not get an ID Card.

    With the withdrawal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell a bigger problem surfaced and the incident at Ft. Bragg is just the tip of the iceberg. Federal law doesn’t recognize gay marriage hence the spouses can not get the same Federal benefits of hetero marriages.

    It is going to be an up hill battle!

  • Soonerdiver

    If it is a State’s right to define marriage and not the Federal Government then how do you equate DOMA? There is a major case on-going at Ft. Bragg, NC; where a gay couple was legally married in one of the states that recognize gay marriage. One of the couple is a serving member of the U.S. Army and now the spouse wants to join the Officer’s Spouse Club on base. She was denied because the club by-laws say you must have a military ID card to become a member; and owing to DOMA this lady can not get an ID Card.

    With the withdrawal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell a bigger problem surfaced and the incident at Ft. Bragg is just the tip of the iceberg. Federal law doesn’t recognize gay marriage hence the spouses can not get the same Federal benefits of hetero marriages.

    It is going to be an up hill battle!

  • BigDoho

    Proposition 8 supporters say, “It was reasonable for California voters to believe that restricting marriage to male-female unions will ‘increase the likelihood that children will be born and raised in stable and enduring family units by their own mothers and fathers.”‘ Californians, at one time in the history of this state, had laws that forbade intermarriage between people of Asian, Latino, and African American decent and people of Caucasian decent. Was that reasonable? No! Other U.S. states had laws supporting slavery and racism. These laws were also deemed reasonable at one time. Were those laws EVER reasonable? No! Immoral behavior will be snuffed out. Denying people equal protection under the law is un-excusable, and this practice must be abolished. The bigoted and homophobic supporters of Proposition 8 are on the wrong side of this debate. Americans are gradually coming to recognize that these intolerant ideas should be eradicated for the good of our society. Heterosexual support for the LGBT community is important to ensure that laws like Proposition 8 are no longer supported or even considered feasible.

  • BigDoho

    Proposition 8 supporters say, “It was reasonable for California voters to believe that restricting marriage to male-female unions will ‘increase the likelihood that children will be born and raised in stable and enduring family units by their own mothers and fathers.”‘ Californians, at one time in the history of this state, had laws that forbade intermarriage between people of Asian, Latino, and African American decent and people of Caucasian decent. Was that reasonable? No! Other U.S. states had laws supporting slavery and racism. These laws were also deemed reasonable at one time. Were those laws EVER reasonable? No! Immoral behavior will be snuffed out. Denying people equal protection under the law is un-excusable, and this practice must be abolished. The bigoted and homophobic supporters of Proposition 8 are on the wrong side of this debate. Americans are gradually coming to recognize that these intolerant ideas should be eradicated for the good of our society. Heterosexual support for the LGBT community is important to ensure that laws like Proposition 8 are no longer supported or even considered feasible.

  • BigDoho

    Proposition 8 supporters say, “It was reasonable for California voters to believe that restricting marriage to male-female unions will ‘increase the likelihood that children will be born and raised in stable and enduring family units by their own mothers and fathers.”‘ Californians, at one time in the history of this state, had laws that forbade intermarriage between people of Asian, Latino, and African American decent and people of Caucasian decent. Was that reasonable? No! Other U.S. states had laws supporting slavery and racism. These laws were also deemed reasonable at one time. Were those laws EVER reasonable? No! Immoral behavior will be snuffed out. Denying people equal protection under the law is un-excusable, and this practice must be abolished. The bigoted and homophobic supporters of Proposition 8 are on the wrong side of this debate. Americans are gradually coming to recognize that these intolerant ideas should be eradicated for the good of our society. Heterosexual support for the LGBT community is important to ensure that laws like Proposition 8 are no longer supported or even considered feasible.

  • BigDoho

    Proposition 8 supporters say, “It was reasonable for California voters to believe that restricting marriage to male-female unions will ‘increase the likelihood that children will be born and raised in stable and enduring family units by their own mothers and fathers.”‘ Californians, at one time in the history of this state, had laws that forbade intermarriage between people of Asian, Latino, and African American decent and people of Caucasian decent. Was that reasonable? No! Other U.S. states had laws supporting slavery and racism. These laws were also deemed reasonable at one time. Were those laws EVER reasonable? No! Immoral behavior will be snuffed out. Denying people equal protection under the law is un-excusable, and this practice must be abolished. The bigoted and homophobic supporters of Proposition 8 are on the wrong side of this debate. Americans are gradually coming to recognize that these intolerant ideas should be eradicated for the good of our society. Heterosexual support for the LGBT community is important to ensure that laws like Proposition 8 are no longer supported or even considered feasible.