San Francisco District Attorney General
Kamala Harris has beaten her Republican rival to become California's
next attorney general, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The narrow race dragged on for three
weeks after the November 2 election.
Los Angeles District Attorney Steve
Cooley declared victory on election night. But the race turned to
Harris' favor as officials added in results from mail-in and
provisional ballots. On Wednesday morning, Cooley conceded the race
The candidates differed on whether to
defend the state's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, which
Governor-elect Jerry Brown, as attorney general, declined to defend.
Cooley said he would defend the ban in
court because the “proper role of an attorney general is to enforce
and defend the will of the people as manifested through the
initiative or legislative process.”
a statement released on the day a federal judge ruled the law
unconstitutional, Cooley said the ruling needed to be appealed.
“Today's decision by a federal judge
overturning Proposition 8 should be appealed and tested at a higher
level of our legal system,” Cooley said in a statement. “The
California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 by a 6 to 1 vote and
declared it to be constitutional. Likewise, if the voters had
approved an initiative legalizing same-sex marriage and a federal
judge had ruled against it, I would also support an appeal of that
Saying that Cooley either “does not
understand the law or he is deliberately misleading people about its
content,” Tobias Wolff, a University of Pennsylvania Law School
Professor, disagreed with the Los Angeles County district attorney.
“In that first round of legal
challenges to Proposition 8, the California Supreme Court did not
rule on the constitutionality of Prop 8 under any provision of the
U.S. Constitution. It was asked to decide only one question —
whether state law permits a ballot initiative to be used in putting
the fundamental rights of a protected minority up for popular vote,”
told the Courage Campaign, a gay rights group that has been closely
monitoring the case.
Harris, who enjoyed the endorsement of
Equality California (EQCA), the state's largest gay rights advocate,
promised to “never defend the anti-LGBT Proposition 8 in federal
Harris will become the state's first
female attorney general.