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California: Supreme Court leaves "Marriage Protection Act" on fall ballot

The Los Angeles Times reports: A voter initiative to reinstate a ban on same-sex marriage will remain on the November ballot, the California Supreme Court decided unanimously Wednesday.

The court issued a brief order rejecting arguments that the initiative, Proposition 8, was an illegal constitutional revision and that voters had been misled when they signed petitions to put it on the ballot. The decision, reached in closed session during the court's weekly conference, cleared the way for what some observers expect to be a close vote on the marriage measure. ...

If approved by voters, Proposition 8, called the "California Marriage Protection Act," would add a provision to the state Constitution that says, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." -- Bid to ban gay marriage will stay on ballot, California Supreme Court rules - Los Angeles Times

The San Francisco Chronicle reports: The lawsuit against Prop. 8 argued that the one-sentence initiative was actually a broad attack on basic rights recognized by the court - a measure that would simultaneously deprive one group of fundamental freedoms by majority vote and strip the courts of their ability to enforce constitutional guarantees.

Although its backers call it a constitutional amendment, Prop. 8 is actually a constitutional revision, the suit contended. A revision must be submitted to the voters by a two-thirds majority of the state Legislature.

The last time the court accepted such an argument was in 1990, when it overturned part of a voter-approved constitutional amendment on crime. In that case, the justices said a provision requiring state judges to follow federal interpretations of defendants' rights was a broad attack on judicial authority and a "fundamental change in our ... governmental plan."

Lawyers for the Prop. 8 backers argued that an amendment to restore the state's previous definition of marriage would leave courts with "full authority to continue protecting the rights of minorities." They said equally far-reaching changes in California law - for example, the restoration of the death penalty in 1972 and the overhaul of the tax system under Proposition 13 in 1978 - were accomplished by initiative. -- Challenge tossed, gay marriage ban on ballot

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