Traditional Marriage Supporters Laud California Court’s Ruling on Initiative

By Michael Gryboski | July 18, 2008 | 7:21 PM EDT

( - The California Supreme Court on Thursday rejected efforts by homosexual advocacy groups to remove Proposition 8 from the November ballot.  Prop 8 would amend the state constitution to read, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
The initiative had been added to the ballot by the California Secretary of State shortly after the state’s Supreme Court May 15 ruling creating homosexual marriage in California. It was immediately the target of an organized petition campaign seeking to remove it.
Pro-family conservative groups behind the ballot initiative hail the court’s action as a victory, saying the decision virtually guarantees that voters will get a chance to pass judgment on the proposition.
“Californians can now go back to telling their friends and neighbors to vote yes on Proposition 8 in November to restore marriage for only a man and a woman,” said Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, a supporter of the initiative.
Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization which has backed efforts to enshrine traditional marriage in the U.S. Constitution, also celebrated the California Court’s decision Thursday.
In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Bruce Hausknecht, Focus on the Family’s judicial analyst, said the petition had been guaranteed to fail.
Homosexual activists had argued that the marriage amendment amounted to a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the state constitution, Hausknecht said.
“Under the [California] constitution, when a revision is proposed, the Legislature must be involved. Not so for an amendment. Because of the liberal bent of [the] Legislature, the marriage amendment would be effectively killed if it were deemed a revision rather than an amendment.”
Hausknecht said the argument that was used was weak by any standards.
“The California Supreme Court rejected the case without even issuing an opinion because it was obviously without any merit whatsoever,” he added.
Hausknecht told Cybercast News Service that he was optimistic about the amendment’s chances.
“A majority of Californians still believe in the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman,” he said. “We also know that citizens become righteously indignant when courts dictate to them what the law will be, and happily respond to such encroachments on their right to self-government when the opportunity presents itself, as it does with the marriage amendment.”
Homosexual advocacy groups involved in the challenge were disappointed by the court’s rejection of the petition.
“I think that courts rule based on the law, and it’s such a unique ballot measure,” said Lara Schwartz, legal director and chief legislative counsel for the Lambda Legal Defense Foundation, in an interview with Cybercast News Service.
“There’s never been anything on the ballot before that would actually attempt to invalidate someone’s constitutional rights in that way and undo a court decision that recognizes a group of people’s rights in that way,” she said. “For a court to draw upon prior precedence is very challenging.”
Lambda Legal was joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
“We’re disappointed, but this ruling does not affect the campaign against Prop 8 in any way,” said the ACLU’s Pamela Bradshaw.
“We have been focused on continuing the election and moving forward, talking to voters and working in the precincts -- asking Californians to Vote No on 8. Californians do not want their Constitution to single out people to be treated differently,”  she said.
The latest Field Poll, a measure of California opinion, released Friday found that 51 percent of likely voters said they would not support the initiative, with 42 percent of Californians saying they would likely vote for it.