1st Step Passes Senate

Leno Resolution Opposing Proposition 8 Passes Senate

Monday, March 02, 2009

SACRAMENTO , The California Senate today passed Senate Resolution 7, which declares the Senate’s opposition to Proposition 8, last year’s ballot measure that banned marriage for same-sex couples. SR 7, which passed the Senate with an 18-14 vote, was introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California.

An identical measure in the Assembly, House Resolution 5, authored by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, passed the Assembly today. Resolutions do not require the governor’s signature, so both SR 7 and HR 5 immediately become the official position of the legislature.

-Both houses of the Legislature recognize that Proposition 8 undermines the fundamental principle of equal protection guaranteed by the California Constitution,” said Senator Leno. –Proposition 8‘s revision to the California Constitution violated key structural checks and balances in the state’s legal system when it was approved by a slim majority of voters last November. If Proposition 8 stands, we would be setting a dangerous precedent in California that allows a majority of the people to deny equal protection under the law to a minority of Californians.”

SR 7 was co-authored by 16 senators, including Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Senator Christine Kehoe, a member of the LGBT Legislative Caucus. It was also supported by many civil rights groups that opposed Proposition 8.

-This is the first time in our state’s history that the initiative process has been used to take away a fundamental freedom from one particular group,” said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. -Our legislators understand this is an unequivocal change to our State’s Constitution, which is to protect and empower all people equally. We are thankful that our elected representatives have sided with the people in standing up against this dangerous and unprecedented revision. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will do the same.”

Senator Leno’s resolution memorializes the Senate’s opposition to Proposition 8 because it is an improper revision of the California Constitution and was not enacted according to the procedures required by Article XVIII to the State Constitution. This Article mandates that a proposed revision of the California Constitution must originate in the California Legislature and be approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature before being submitted to the voters.

The California Supreme Court has held in Livermore v. Waite and other subsequent decisions that a revision is a substantial change to the -underlying principles” of the California Constitution or to the structure of our -basic governmental plan.” Proposition 8 changes the constitution to eliminate the fundamental right to marry for a particular minority group, and thereby violates the principle of equal protection and the separation of powers clause.

For more information, contact Ali Bay at 916-651-4550.

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