Starting at 9 a.m. Thursday, California's Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against the validity of Proposition 8, the controversial November ballot measure that barred same-sex unions in California by declaring marriage only for a man and a woman.
The debate will turn on the constitutional right of equal protection, the role of the judiciary and the power of the electorate in configuring the state constitution.
The high court's seven justices have asked for arguments on three key questions:
Should Proposition 8 have been submitted to voters as a "revision" to the constitution, which would have required lawmakers to place it on the ballot? The measure made the ballot via initiative, as an "amendment" to the constitution.
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Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers provisions of the constitution because it should have been approved by the Legislature first?
If the Proposition 8 is constitutional, what is to become of the estimated 19,000 same-sex marriages performed between June 16 and the passage of the measure on Nov. 4?
The hearing will be streamed live on sacbee.com and www.calchannel,com. It will also be broadcast live on the California Channel, which is available through cable networks across the state.
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