In Nov. 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, which defines marriage as a union strictly between a man and a woman. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court, which is currently hearing the case to repeal Proposition 8, has called upon the California Supreme Court to make the ruling to determine whether citizens can defend a law in court.
Benjamin Lopez, a legislative analyst and lobbyist for the Traditional Values Coalition of California, argued that since California citizens voted Proposition 8 into law it is the duty of the state to uphold the sanctity of marriage, and in the State’s absence the people should inherit that right.
“There is currently a dilemma, where the decision of the people is not being properly ruled in the court,” Lopez said. “Proponents of Proposition 8 and their attorneys have a right to defend Proposition 8 in court if Schwarzenegger and Brown aren’t going to.”
Attorney Theodore B. Olson, a lead lawyer for the repeal of Proposition 8, argued in a letter to the California Supreme Court that the federal law mandates that the state, not the people have the right to defend a law in court.
“It is clear that California law vests the Attorney General — not private litigants — with the authority to represent the State’s interest in litigation,” Olson wrote. “Proceedings would needlessly delay a decision from the 9th Circuit … and intolerably prolong the denial of plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.”
Vincent E. Vigil, the director of USC’s LGBT Student Resource Center, believes that the current attempt to repeal Proposition 8 reflects the changing opinions of Californians in regards to same-sex marriage.
The attempt to repeal Proposition 8 has revived the debate over same sex-marriage in the State of California.
“You can clearly see by recent polls that people’s mindsets have changed on same-sex marriage,” Vigil said.
Vigil attributes the changed public opinion to non-profit equality organizations, which have continued to educate the public on same-sex marriage since the passage of Proposition 8.
“Proposition 8 doesn’t incorporate the current mindset of the voters.” Vigil said.
Supporters of Proposition 8 argue that the proposition accurately reflects the views of California voters.
Vigil said he thinks the issue of same-sex marriage is being unfairly utilized as a political tool.
“[Same-sex marriage] is a political issue that conservatives and some liberals are using to get votes, and it’s sad that people’s values and freedoms are in the middle of this political mud slinging,” Vigil said.
Some students, such as Monroe Ekilah, a freshman majoring in computer engineering and computer science, say same-sex couples should be entitled to all the legal benefits of marriage, regardless of personal views.
“I disagree with Proposition 8 because the legal benefits override the morals,” Ekilah said. “I don’t have to agree with [same-sex marriage].”
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