California Attorney General Jerry Brown
is unsure whether his support for gay marriage is helping or hurting
his bid for governor.
Brown and Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger are under pressure by social conservatives to appeal a
federal district court ruling that found the state's gay marriage
ban, Proposition 8, unconstitutional.
Both officials – the named defendants
in the suit – have refused to defend the law and urged the court to
lift a hold on the decision as it's being appealed. Doubts have been
raised about whether Protect Marriage, the sponsor of the measure,
has legal standing to appeal the ruling as ordinary citizens.
Last week, a Christian-based legal
group asked a court to force the state to act. The
suit was rejected without an explanation. Socially
conservative Republicans have also joined in the chorus, sending
Schwarzenegger a letter last week urging the Republican to appeal the
case before the September 11 deadline.
It makes for a bit of drama for the
campaign, but who's winning in the court of public opinion – Brown
who is supporting the court's decision or his rival, former eBay CEO
Meg Whitman, who
has said she would defend the law – remains unclear.
And Brown himself wasn't commenting.
“I don't know,” he
told gay glossy The Advocate. “I think it's the right
thing to do. So beyond that, I'm not going to try to interpret
He did, however, reiterate why he's
taken such a position: “The factor for me was the opinion of the
California Supreme Court holding that marriage is a fundamental right
and that same-sex couples were included within that right. Once our
own constitutional body determines that that was a fundamental right,
even though the people passed Proposition 8, I felt that the
Fourteenth Amendment is the protector of fundamental rights. And our
courts had already defined that,that it was a reasonable thing to do
– to look to the Fourteenth Amendment to uphold what our own court
had found before Prop. 8.”