The day after Election Day officials with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Clara County filed a brief asking the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8.
California’s constitution does not allow “a bare political majority” to use the amendment process to divest politically disfavored minority groups of constitutional rights, said San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a similar petition, arguing that since the public can only use the initiative process to “amend” the state constitution not “revise” it, Proposition 8 was not validly passed.
Mr. Pugno called the lawsuits “frivolous,” and vowed to keep on the defense.
“These same groups filed an identical case with the California Supreme Court months ago, which was summarily dismissed. We will vigorously defend the people’s decision to enact Proposition 8,” Mr. Pugno said.
“This lawsuit is a brazen attempt to gut the democratic process,” said Glen Lavy of the Alliance Defense Fund, another Proposition 8 supporter. “No structural revision to the state constitution has taken place here. The people have simply restored the definition of marriage that the constitution has always assumed,” Mr. Lavy said.
Proposition 8 is not spelled out as applying retroactively, so the question of whether the estimated 16,000-plus gay marriages conducted between June and Election Day remains open.
Some gay rights groups are getting back to business. They have thanked their supporters, lamented passage of the amendment and started steering their allies to the new Obama administration.
“At the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, we’re picking ourselves back up, dusting ourselves off, and getting right back into the fight for our equality and freedom,” said Rea Carey, the group’s executive director.
Legislative goals include ensuring that government programs in health, family issues and tax policy are inclusive of all sexualities, she said.
Also of interest are passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy, repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, enact aggressive hate-crimes legislation, and improving the national strategy on HIV/AIDS.
The passage of Proposition 8 sparked at least one call for change in gay political strategy.
“Too many gay heads are too strategically locked into a litigation-based mindset that has become counterproductive,” said analyst Jonathan Rauch of the Independent Gay Forum. “We’re going to have to persuade these people that gay marriage is a good idea. Too many people forget that Martin Luther King was a persuader, not a litigator, and that the real breakthroughs came through Congress, not courts.”
California was not alone Tuesday in passing amendments against gay marriage.
Voters in Florida and Arizona also agreed to amend their constitutions and define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, bringing to 30 the number of states with similar measures.