Both sides are claiming victory in
Thursday's California Supreme Court ruling that found Proposition 8
backers have legal standing to defend the amendment in court.
In an unanimous decision, the state's
highest court said state officials do not have the right to veto a
“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,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakueye wrote
for the court.
Protect Marriage, the coalition of
mostly religious groups which put Proposition 8 on the 2008 ballot
after the state's highest court had legalized gay marriage, last year
appealed retired federal Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling declaring the
law unconstitutional after state elected officials had refused to do
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
turned to the state Supreme Court to answer whether the group had the
legal right to defend the amendment in court.
Gay marriage backers had argued that
the court should not recognize Protect Marriage.
But in a video released shortly after
the court ruled, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo, two of the plaintiffs
in the case, asserted that the ruling was a victory because it put
the case back on track and it increased the likelihood that the case
would reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
“With today's ruling we can actually
move forward,” Katami said. “We believe that in the end the
truth wins out – Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling is based on the truth
– and that someday we, as all other Americans, will be treated
equally under the law.” (The video is embedded in the right panel
of this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, also
claimed victory in the ruling.
“It has been nothing short of
shameful to see Governor Jerry Brown, his predecessor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Kamala Harris abdicate their
constitutional responsibility to defend Proposition 8 in court,”
NOM President Brian Brown said in a blog post that included the tag
line, “Prop 8 Victory: Moving closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“Although today's ruling from the
California Supreme Court confirms that the proponents of Prop 8 have
the legal right to defend their initiative when the state officials
refuse to fulfill their sworn duty, it is gratifying to know that the
over 7 million Californians who supported the initiative will have a
vigorous defense of their decision in our federal courts,” he