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Prop 8 hearing sparks new protests

March 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It has stirred emotion like few other ballot measures, sparking protests in months past from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Now as the state supreme court prepares to determine whether to uphold Proposition 8, both sides demonstrated again Wednesday."It takes away and does away with justice and liberty," said Bishop Jon Bruno, Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.

Bishop Bruno is among those arguing against Proposition 8, saying it should never have been placed on the November ballot through the initiative process, that it represented a radical revision to the state constitution.

"And to have people think that they can alter the constitution of the state of California or the constitution of the United States through an initiative process gives them a false impression of what's real," said Bishop Bruno.

The passages of Prop. 8 amended the state constitution, overturning a California Supreme Court decision last year that legalized same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 passed with a majority 52 percent of the vote. But same-sex marriage supporters contend that even a majority of Californians shouldn't be allowed to change the constitution at will.

"We don't have the fundamental rights of a minority up for a vote without dramatically changing what our constitution means," said Lori Rifkin, ACLU. "But that's exactly what happened with Proposition 8."

Between the state supreme court decision last year legalizing gay marriage and the November election overturning that ruling, some 18,000 gay couples married. State Attorney General Jerry Brown has said those marriages will remain valid. Wednesday, supporters of Prop. 8 say the voters have spoken.

"The court merely has to look at the constitution, which says clearly that marriage is only for a man and a woman, and says that the legislature makes the laws," said Randy Thomason, ProtectMarriage.com. "The people pass initiatives only the people can amend the constitution."


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