SACRAMENTO, Calif. The American Civil Liberties Union joined three homosexuals rights groups in filing a lawsuit at the California Supreme Court, June 20, asking the court to block the constitutional marriage amendment that would ban same-sex marriage from appearing on the November ballot.
In a press release from the ACLU, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and Equality California stated that the proposed amendment to the California Constitution should be invalidated because its impact was not made clear to the millions of voters who signed petitions to qualify the measure before the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions.
The lawsuit argues that the amendment would "revise" the state constitution something that is prohibited from being done under state law by a voter initiative. ("Revision" essentially refers to a fundamental change to the document.) Revising the constitution requires approval by two-thirds of the legislature before an initiative appears on the ballot.
"If enacted, [the amendment] would eviscerate the principle of equal citizenship for gay and lesbian people and strip the courts of their authority to enforce basic constitutional guarantees," Stephen Bomse, a lawyer in the suit, said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Attorneys for the ProtectMarriage.com coalition, which is sponsoring the Marriage Amendment, said the lawsuit seeking to remove the initiative from the ballot is based on "flimsy" legal arguments and will likely be rejected by the court.
"This is an act of desperation," said Ron Prentice chairman of the ProtectMarriage.com coalition, which is sponsoring the Marriage Amendment. "The voters deserve a chance to vote on this important issue, but our extremist opponents want to silence the voters. This will only energize public support for overturning the court's decision."
Amendment supporters submitted 1.1 million signatures to qualify the amendment for the ballot. For information about the amendment, or to donate to the amendment campaign, visit ProtectMarriage.com (out-of-state donations are allowed).