Prop 8 proponents deserve their day in court


Author:  Damien M. Schiff

Today PLF filed an amicus letter urging the California Supreme Court to accept a certified question from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge to Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban.  In Perry, several homosexual couples challenged Prop 8 on constitutional grounds.  The state defendants refused actively to defend the proposition, so the measure's official sponsors intervened to do so.  The district court ruled in the plaintiffs' favor, and so the sponsors (but not the state) appealed.  After hearing argument, the Ninth Circuit decided to send a certified question of law to the California Supreme Court, asking that body to determine whether ballot sponsors (like the Prop 8 proponents) have legal standing to defend measures that they have supported when the state officials charged with enforcing those measures decline to.

PLF's amicus letter asks the state supreme court to accept the question to affirm that ballot sponsors, such as the Prop 8 proponents, do have the right to defend the validity of their measures, particularly when the government chooses not to.  The letter was filed on behalf of several California ballot sponsors who have had to intervene in lawsuits to defend their measures.  The amici are Ward Connerly and Glynn Custred, proponents of Prop 209; Ron Unz, proponent of Prop 227; and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, proponent of Props 13, 62, and 218.