Attorneys for same-sex couples, civil rights organizations and the California’s Attorney General’s office appeared before the California Supreme Court today to urge the court to strike down Proposition 8, which took away the right of same-sex couples the right to marry.
At issue in the case – Strauss et al. v. Horton et al – is whether the ballot initiative process can be used to take away a fundamental right only for one group of Californians based on a trait – in this case sexual orientation – that has no relevance to the group’s ability to participate in or contribute to society.
“Proposition 8 jeopardizes not just the right of same-sex couples to marry, but the rights of all Californians to be treated as free and equal citizens of this state,” said Shannon P. Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), who argued the case before the Court. “Our Constitution is based on the principle that majorities must respect minority rights. But if a majority can change the Constitution to take away a fundamental right from one group, then it can take away fundamental rights from any group. Our government will have changed from one that respects minority rights to one in which the power of the majority is unlimited.”
The California Supreme Court must issue its decisions within 90 days of oral argument.