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Huge Win for Marriage in California

By November 21, 2011Defense of Family, Legal
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Proponents of homosexual “marriage” had to know it was coming. They knew the argument had no merit. In their minds, however, ideology trumps common sense and legal merit every time. And that’s the real reason we have this decision today.

The case, Perry v. Brown, is really about the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s constitutional marriage amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman. In 2008, Californians voted decisively to protect the traditional definition of marriage. Having lost at the ballot box, pro-homosexual activists took the battle to court to challenge the constitutionality of this measure which was backed by the majority of Californians.

Not surprisingly, the political elite in the state decided to betray their own constituents and actively oppose the voters in court. California’s attorney general not only refused to defend the validity of Proposition 8, he actually argued in the state’s brief that the measure was unconstitutional.

Homosexual activists and the political elite thought they had devised a great scheme. If there is no one to defend the law, then it really doesn’t matter what the people of California want. Their vote doesn’t mean anything.

But the official supporters of Proposition 8 intervened in the case to defend the voters and make the case for the constitutionality of the measure. That would seem reasonable to anyone. You do not need to go to law school to see that.

But homosexual activists don’t care. They know that the people are not with them, so they need those who know better than “the ignorant masses who voted for Proposition 8” to impose homosexual “marriage” on the state because “it is only fair.” It doesn’t really matter what the law says. Unsurprisingly, they objected to the intervention in court.

If they were so confident in their legal arguments, you would think that they would want to adjudicate the case on the merits. But no, they know their arguments stretch the limits of reality and have no support in legal precedent. They depend on the “vision” of activist judges who can see the need to do this because “it is the right thing to do,” regardless of what the law says.

What the political elite want is to hold a de facto veto power over voters. Thankfully, the California Supreme Court did not agree: “Neither the Governor, the Attorney General, nor any other executive or legislative official has the authority to veto or invalidate an initiative measure that has been approved by the voters.”

Procedurally, the case on the merits sits at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. But when the pro-homosexual camp objected to the intervention of the supporters of Proposition 8, the Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to answer the standing question first.

The question was simple:

Whether under California law, the official proponents of an initiative measure possess either a particularized interest in the initiative’s validity or the authority to assert the State’s interest in the initiative’s validity, which would enable them to defend the constitutionality of the initiative upon its adoption or appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative, when the public officials charged with that duty refuse to do so.

The California Supreme Court quickly pointed out that the question is not about marriage at all. It is about “the purpose and integrity of the initiative process itself.” It is about whether we are to be governed by “we the people,” or by the political elite, as the pro-homosexual “marriage” advocates seem to want.

The court correctly explained that legal precedent stands on the side of supporters of traditional marriage. “[I]n the past official proponents of initiative measures in California have uniformly been permitted to participate as parties.” The court went further, saying that such participation was routinely permitted, regardless of “whether or not the government officials who ordinarily defend a challenged enactment were also defending the measure in the proceeding.”

The whole point of this process is “intended to enable the people to amend the state Constitution or to enact statutes when current government officials have declined to adopt (and often publicly opposed) the measure in question.” The proponents of a measure are allowed to defend the measure “to guard the people’s right to exercise initiative power.”

The court could not have made a stronger statement: “[I]n most instances it may well be an abuse of discretion for a court to fail to permit the official proponents of an initiative to intervene in a judicial proceeding to protect the people’s right to exercise their initiative power even when one or more government defendants are defending the initiative’s validity in the proceeding.”

Having said that, the court explains that a case like this one is the worst possible example of the abuse of power that pro-homosexual marriage proponents seek:

Thus, in an instance – like that identified in the question submitted by the Ninth Circuit – in which the public officials have totally declined to defend the initiative’s validity at all, we conclude that, in light of the nature and purpose of the initiative process it would clearly constitute an abuse of discretion for a court to deny the official proponents of an initiative the opportunity to participate as formal parties in the proceeding in order to assert the people’s and hence the state’s interest in the validity of the measure and to appeal a judgment invalidating the measure.

No question, this is a great ruling for supporters of traditional marriage, not only because they get a chance to defend Proposition 8 in this case, but because it also exposes the tyranny of the pro-homosexual “marriage” crowd.

If we are to continue to have a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” their efforts must be stopped. We hope the Ninth Circuit can see that and do the right thing, legally and morally.