SAN FRANCISCO –California‘s
highest court agreed Wednesday to hear several legal challenges to the
state’s new ban on same-sex marriage but refused to allow gay couples
to resume marrying before it rules.
The Californiaconstitutional amendment that overruled the court’s decision in May that legalized .accepted three lawsuits seeking to nullify Proposition 8, a voter-approved
All three cases claim the measure abridges thecivil rights
of a vulnerable minority group. They argue that voters alone did not
have the authority to enact such a significant constitutional change.
is its custom when it takes up cases, the court elaborated little.
However, the justices did say they want to address what effect, if any,
a ruling upholding the amendment would have on the estimated 18,000
same-sex marriages that were sanctioned in California beforeelection day.
Gay rights groups and local governments petitioning to overturn the ban were joined by the measure’s sponsors andAttorney General Jerry Brown in urging the Supreme Court to consider whether Proposition 8 passes legal muster.
The initiative’s opponents had also asked the court to grant a stay of the measure, which would have allowedgay marriages to begin again while the justices considered the cases. The court denied that request.
justices directed Brown and lawyers for the Yes on 8 campaign to submit
arguments by Dec. 19 on why the ballot initiative should not be
nullified. It said lawyers for the plaintiffs, who include same-sex
couples who did not wed before the election, must respond before Jan. 5.