Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prop. 8 Oral Arguments to be Webcast Today

The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments today in three challenges to Proposition 8 passed by the voters of California in November. The California Channel will live webcast the event beginning at 9:00 a.m. west coast time.

California's Attorney General, the former Governor and former Oakland Mayor, Jerry Brown isn't even defending the people in this case. He's called for the will of the people he represents to be overturned.

Supporters of the initiative are calling for prayer. Bill May, chair of San Francisco Based Catholics for the Common Good (the good one) issued this statement today:

“The cases challenging Prop 8 are not about same-sex ‘marriage’, but instead the rights of California citizens to amend their constitution to define marriage. We are confident that the justices will decide this issue based on the law, and the law is clearly on our side.”

Constitutional revision:

“Even Prop 8 opponent, Attorney General Jerry Brown, expressed doubt about the validity of the plaintiff’s claim that the 14 words of Prop 8 constituted a fundamental restructuring of government that would have required legislative review before the measure went to the voters.”

Attorney General’s arguments:

“The Attorney General’s arguments suggest the California Supreme Court should be the final arbiter over what sovereign rights voters have to amend their constitution. That would place the Court above the entire government, the constitution and the rights reserved to the voters by the constitution itself.”

Last week, Catholics for the Common Good announced a novena for judges and attorneys starting on Ash Wednesday and ending on March 5. It has received tremendous support nationally.

And Ron Prentice, chair of issued the following statement yesterday:
All our briefs have been filed. Our attorneys are fully prepared. Our supporters held a Day of Prayer for Proposition 8 last Sunday. Now tomorrow, the fate of Proposition 8 will be in the hands of the California Supreme Court.

We have confidence that the Court will uphold Proposition 8. Why do we believe this? Because the law is clearly on our side. Proposition 8 has become Article 1, Section 7.5 of the California Constitution, and though some justices on the Court may not agree with the decision the people made in adopting Prop 8 and defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, we are very confident that the Court will respect the right of the people to have decided this issue. The people have reserved to themselves the sovereign right to define their constitution. By a 600,000 vote margin, they voted to enshrine the traditional definition of marriage in the constitution. As Dean Kenneth W. Starr has told the court in his brilliantly written briefs, “The constitution has now been amended by the sovereign people who are its creators. That is the beginning and end of this case.”

The legal issues before the Supreme Court tomorrow are primarily procedural and deal with whether Proposition 8 was a properly enacted constitutional amendment. This is a very different legal battle than when the Court decided last year to interpret the constitution to provide a right to marry for same-sex couples. Now, the constitution is plainly clear that only traditional marriage is valid in California. Thus, the main issue before the court is whether the people had the right to enact Prop 8 in the first instance. Our opponents argue that Prop 8 was so sweeping that it constituted a fundamental revision of the constitution. But as we detailed in our legal briefs, the law is clear that the people had the right to enact Prop 8, and properly exercised it. Here are excerpts from our briefs:

“There is no higher legal authority within California to which the judiciary can appeal.”

“Proposition 8’s brevity is matched only by its clarity. There are no conditional clauses, exceptions, exemptions, or exclusions. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Describing Proposition 8 as a revision to the state constitution, “depends on characterizing Proposition 8 as a radical departure from the fundamental principles of the California Constitution. But that portrayal is wildly wrong. Proposition 8 is limited in nature and effect. It does nothing more than restore the definition of marriage to what it was and always had been under California law before June 16, 2008 – and to what the people had repeatedly willed that it be throughout California’s history. It is now part of the state constitution.”

On the Attorney General’s novel contention that even though Proposition 8 was a validly enacted amendment, it should still be invalidated as violating the right to liberty of same-sex couples, “[This position is] utterly without foundation in this Court’s case law. His theory fails at every level. The Attorney General is inviting this Court to declare a constitutional revolution that would fundamentally alter the role of the judiciary, putting judges in the role of supreme overseer of the people’s constitution-making power, a result patently contrary to popular sovereignty.”

Please keep our attorneys, Ken Starr and Andrew Pugno, and committee representatives in your prayers tomorrow as they represent the majority of California who support traditional marriage. Pray also for wisdom for the justices of the Court to show respect for the people’s decision to enact Proposition 8. Finally, pray that our opponents understand that our support of Proposition 8 is to preserve traditional marriage, not to take rights away from anybody.

The Supreme Court’s hearing will be broadcast live at 9:00am pacific time on the California Channel. Check your local cable system for channel location. It is also available online at

We have all worked so hard to get to this point. is the only group that will appear before the Supreme Court to uphold the vote of the people enacting Prop 8 and affirm traditional marriage as the law of the land. Pray that our efforts will be rewarded with a just decision from the California Supreme Court.