Just days before a historic state Supreme Court hearing on Proposition 8, the Legislature approved a resolution Monday declaring that voters alone did not have the right to adopt the gay-marriage ban.
The nonbinding resolution contends that Proposition 8 – which defines marriage as between only a man and a woman – was an improper revision of the state constitution. Sweeping revisions can only be adopted, the resolution says, if they originate in the Legislature, gain two-thirds approval in that body and then win approval by voters.
The resolution also states that Proposition 8, which voters approved in November, oversteps the authority of the courts to enforce equal protection and prevent government discrimination.
"We're talking about a radical revision to our constitution," said Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, an openly gay member of the Legislature who sponsored the resolution.
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"Do we have a constitutional democracy in California," Leno asked, "or do we have mob rule, where a majority of Californians can change the constitution at any time?"
Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, spoke against the resolution, telling Leno: "I understand you think I just don't get it."
Runner said the debate over Proposition 8 involves "core values," and that he feels he must respect that Californians "have spoken" by voting twice to block gay marriage.
"They spoke from their hearts, from their minds," Runner said.
On Thursday the state Supreme Court will hear dueling oral arguments on Proposition 8. State Attorney General Jerry Brown's office will argue that the measure violates an "inalienable right of liberty" in the state constitution.
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