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Oral Arguments
Conclude: The Wait Begins

Oral Arguments
Conclude: The Wait Begins

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Emotions ran high Thursday when the California supreme court heard oral arguments on whether to uphold the state's voter-passed initiative Proposition 8.

Emotions ran high Thursday when the California supreme court heard oral arguments on whether to uphold the state's voter-passed initiative Proposition 8.

Though it's highly unlikely the court will issue any sort of decision Thursday -- the court has 90 days to rule on Prop. 8 -- the supreme court has already gone to work on a draft of its decision. Oral arguments will likely result in changes to the draft, but chances are slim that they will actually affect the outcome.

The pressure was on from both sides of the marriage battle. Moments after Prop. 8 passed at the polls last November, Lambda Legal, together with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of the proposition. Two other suits were filed that same day -- lawyer Gloria Allred filed on behalf of a Los Angeles couple seeking to get married and on behalf of Robin Tyler and Diane Olsen, the first couple to marry in Los Angeles County. San Francisco and Los Angeles counties also filed a legal challenge to Prop. 8.

The groups argue that Prop. 8, which was a citizen-driven initiative, is invalid because it improperly attempts to undermine the California constitution's core commitment to equality and deprives the courts of their essential role in protecting the rights of minorities. According to the constitution's text, such changes can only be pursued, if at all, through the constitutional revision process, not through an initiative.

Another key player in the fight to overturn Prop. 8 is California attorney general Jerry Brown, who in December asked the California supreme court to declare Proposition 8 invalid, explaining that the ballot measure is fatally defective because the government lacks the compelling grounds necessary to deprive "people of the right to marry, an aspect of liberty that the supreme court has concluded is guaranteed by the California constitution."

Brown's is a different approach to doing away with Prop. 8, one Lambda Legal senior counsel Jenny Pizer says might be harder to prove but, if accepted as a reason to invalidate Prop. 8, would also be tougher to counter.

The California supreme court will also be hearing on Thursday from lawyer Kenneth Starr, who will be arguing that the 18,000 couples who were married before Prop. 8 passed should have their marriages invalidated.

Visit Advocate.com throughout the day on Thursday for up-to-the-minute updates on oral arguments. Watch oral arguments live beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 5, on the California Channel .

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