The California Supreme Court, in a unanimous opinion, released its written decision today on a crucial issue involving the legal challenges regarding Proposition 8, California’s 2008 voter approved same-sex marriage ban. The advisory opinion, which was requested by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, declared that the proponents of the ballot initiative have the legal standing to challenge Judge Walker’s 2010 ruling which affirmed that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.
The question at hand of whether or not the sponsors of the ballot initiative had the legal right to appeal and defend their own measure in the state court was raised after California’s Governor and Attorney General declined to represent the state in the appeal to the August 2010 ruling.
The written decision stated,
In response to the question submitted by the Ninth Circuit, we conclude, for the reasons discussed above, that when the public officials who ordinarily defend a challenged state law or appeal a judgment invalidating the law decline to do so, under article II, section 8 of the California Constitution and the relevant provisions of the Elections Code, the official proponents of a voter-approved initiative measure are authorized to assert the state’s interest in the initiative’s validity, enabling the proponents to defend the constitutionality of the initiative and to appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative.
With the release of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the 9th circuit is now in a position to move forward with the appeal trial. If the ninth circuit decides to agree with today’s ruling, the case will be able to focus solely on the merits and the constitutionality of the issue.
Theodore Olson, one of the lawyers representing the same-sex couples in the case stated,
“This frees up the 9th Circuit to go ahead and decide the constitutional issues on the merits. We’re anxious to get to a decision on the merits that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”
The ruling has caused frustration by many which support the legalization of same sex marriage but Olson remained confident the belief that eventually a repeal will be enforced.
“I think everyone who has watched this issue has noticed that the American public are making up their minds that discrimination to prevent individuals from getting married is unconstitutional and reprehensible. This kind of discrimination is going to be unlawful, and hopefully soon.”