California Supreme Court agrees to rule on key Prop. 8 question

Wed. February 16, 2011 6:10 PM by News Staff

San Francisco - The California Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to rule on a key issue in the battle over the Prop. 8 ban on gay marriage: whether those who support Prop. 8 have any right to defend it in court.

Proposition 8, passed by voters in 2008, bans same-sex marriage in California.

Generally, voter-approved propositions like this are defended in court by state officials. However, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, then-Attorney General Jerry Brown and now current Gov. Jerry Brown have refused to defend it.

That leaves the people who got it on the ballot, a group called "Protect Marriage," to fight in court. But it's not clear they're legally allowed to do so.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a similar case from Arizona expressed "grave doubts" that citizens could stand in for state officials.

The justices said today that they would hear arguments on the matter this fall. Until then, gay marriage remains illegal in California.