Nation Watches California Supreme Court Hearing On Prop 8


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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
California’s controversial voter approved ban of same sex marriages is expected to get national attention when it goes before the State Supreme Court this Thursday (3.5). 
 
Voters approved Proposition 8 in November.
 
Gay rights groups and opponents of same sex marriage are watching the case closely.
 
The Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in three lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.  
The same day the ban was narrowly passed in California, voters in Arizona approved a similar measure outlawing same sex marriages there. 
 
Barbara Jones McCullough is Executive Director of the gay rights group “Equality Arizona.”
 
She says California’s case could energize a petition drive to get Arizona voters to legalize gay civil unions in the 2012 election… 
  
“It might help actually, if the court should overturn proposition 8 to be willing to say when the day is done you really can’t do these things illegally to discriminate against a specified population.  And I really think that’s a good thing for any state organization to pick up right now…”
 
And, because of California’s Prop 8…some advocates are renewing efforts to overturn a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages in Texas. 
Blake Wilkinson is founder of the Dallas based group “Queer Liberaction” that will rally this weekend against Prop 8… 
  
“You know here in Texas, we see California as sort of a state that has set precedents and it gives us an opportunity to rally our own community here in Dallas for possible future anti-gay legislation that may be coming down the way or anti-gay initiatives…” 
   
Opponents of gay marriage are also keeping tabs on the California case.  Money from national religious and conservative groups poured into California in support of the “Yes on 8 Campaign.”
Patrick Downes is a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese in Honolulu, Hawaii, where legislators are reviewing a bill that would legalize civil unions for gay couples.  He’s opposed for the same reason catholics fought for approval of prop 8… 
   
The National Conference of State Legislatures says voters in 20 states have approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages.  Currently, Massachusetts and Connecticut are the only states where same sex couples can legally wed.  Meanwhile until the state supreme court rules, it’s still unclear if the 18-thousand same sex marriages performed in California before Prop 8 was passed will remain valid.