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California Republican state senator Tom Harman (pictured) saw his bill -- which would have granted groups and individuals the right to defend ballot initiatives in court and could have helped Proposition 8 supporters in their case -- die in committee.
The senate judiciary committee rejected Harman's bill along party lines in a 3-2 vote. Currently, California's governor and attorney general decide whether ballot initiatives should be defended in court when their legality is challenged. In the case of Prop. 8, which stripped California's gays of marriage rights, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former attorney general and current governor Jerry Brown, and current attorney general Kamala Harris have refused to defend the ballot initiative since it was declared unconstitutional by federal judge Vaughn Walker. Because of the refusals, antigay groups are asking to defend Prop. 8 -- a federal appeals court has asked California's supreme court to rule on whether state law allows antigay groups to defend Prop. 8. Harman's bill would have made it clear that they have standing to do so.
"California voters deserve to have their position defended when an initiative is challenged in court and the state refuses to defend it," Harman said, according to The Sacramento Bee.