The California Supreme Court on Tuesday
will hear arguments in the latest legal skirmish in the fight against
Proposition 8, California's voter-approved gay marriage ban.
At the morning hearing, Protect
Marriage, the coalition of socially conservative groups which put
Proposition 8 on the 2008 ballot, will argue that it should be
allowed to defend the amendment in court.
Protect Marriage last year stepped in
to appeal a federal judge's ruling declaring the law unconstitutional
after state officials refused to defend the law in court.
At issue is whether the group has the
legal right to represent the people of California in the lawsuit.
If the high court decides proponents do
not have the legal standing to intervene, then the federal court's
order would likely become law, and the marriages of gay couples in
California would resume. Such a resolution would have limited effect
outside the state.
“I don't think it is open-and-shut
either way,” Vikram Amar, a constitutional law professor at the
University of California at Davis, told the Los Angeles Times.
“If sponsors of initiatives don't have standing, then you have the
possibility that elected officials like governors and attorneys
general can essentially undo an initiative by refusing to defend it.”
The justices have 90 days to decide on
the issue of standing after the scheduled hearing.