FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2008
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Senate, Assembly Resolutions Support Invalidation of Proposition 8
Leno, Ammiano Measures, Sponsored by EQCA, Call Initiative an Improper Constitutional Revision, Bypassing Legislature’s Authority in Constitution’s Checks and Balances Process
SACRAMENTO – On the second day of the new 2009-10 legislative session, lawmakers in both the Senate and Assembly introduced resolutions that support the overturning of Proposition 8. Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, today introduced measures to put the Legislature on record opposing Prop 8 and declaring that the initiative is an improper revision to the Constitution.
Both resolutions are sponsored by Equality California and were drafted by EQCA and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, plaintiff and lead counsel, respectively, in the marriage case brought before the California Supreme Court.
Leno’s Senate Resolution 7 and Ammiano’s Assembly Resolution (number to be assigned) specify that significant revisions to the Constitution mandate distinct procedures and require a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature before going to voters. The resolutions are co-authored by Sen. Christine Kehoe and Assemblymember John A. Perez, both members of the LGBT Legislative Caucus, and Senate Pro Tem Speaker Darrell Steinberg.
“Prop 8 eliminates the fundamental right to marry from same-sex couples and allows a slim majority to take away the equal protections of a single minority group, which violates one of the fundamental and founding principles of our Constitution,” said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. “That type of unprecedented change to the Constitution puts the rights of all Californians at risk, and it’s critical in our system of checks and balances that the Legislature weigh in on such fundamental revisions to the Constitution.”
The California Supreme Court is reviewing the validity of Prop 8, which passed by a narrow margin of 52 percent on November 4. Several lawsuits have challenged the initiative, including one filed on behalf of EQCA and several same-sex couples. That lawsuit was filed by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal. Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court held that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and violates the fundamental right to marry.
“Proposition 8’s revision to the California Constitution violates key structural checks and balances built into our legal system,” said Sen. Leno. “Overnight, the constitutional protections of thousands of tax paying, law abiding California citizens were stripped from them by a simple majority vote, without a prior two-thirds vote by both houses of the legislature, thereby trampling on their fundamental right to equal protection.”
"Any major revision to the state Constitution should not be allowed to circumvent the legal system,” said Assemblymember Ammiano. “The fact is, Proposition 8 was improperly instituted through the ballot process without legislative involvement. I am proud to author this crucial resolution urging the courts to right the social travesty of Proposition 8 and ensure any similar future measures are approached in an appropriate and legal manner."
If it stands, Prop 8 would be the only California initiative to successfully change the California Constitution to take away a right from a targeted minority group.
“Equality California is working to ensure there is broad support for both resolutions within the Legislature,” Kors said. “Additionally, we need people who support equality to take action immediately and encourage their representatives to support these resolutions. They can email their lawmakers directly at eqca.org.”
Founded in 1998, Equality California celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2008, commemorating a decade of building a state of equality in California. EQCA is a nonprofit, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. www.eqca.org
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