While religious organizations, in particular the Mormon Church, were vital in funding and organizing for passage of Prop 8, there was equally sizable opposition from religious institutions that considered the measure a threat to their constituents' liberties. The California Council on Churches, a Sacramento-based organization of 51 denominations representing 1.5 million members, opposed Prop 8 and is now joining others in a Supreme Court challenge.
"From our point of view, this is trying to impose one particular religious view on everyone and we're opposed to that," said Rev. Rick Schlosser, executive director of the council. "Once the door is open to discriminate against any minority it's hard to tell where that would end. It could be discrimination against any religious minority. If the equal protection charge in the constitution is violated, as Prop 8 does, it violates the rights of minorities."
Schlosser said that while member churches within the council may have differing opinions about Prop 8 and legal challenges to it, the council's board of directors was clear in its decision to file a legal a petition in the Supreme Court.
The legal challenges filed yesterday join a suit filed Nov. 14 by a coalition of many of the country's major civil rights and legal organizations. They include the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Equal Justice Society. The legal basis in that challenge is the two-thirds majority argument advanced in the petition filed yesterday. California Attorney General Jerry Brown has also jumped into the fray, urging the court to rule on the legality of Prop 8 without taking a position for or against the measure.
Meanwhile, Prop 8's creators are asking the court to rule on the challenges. They are also asking the court to dismiss their opponents' request that the ban on same-sex marriage be suspended pending the outcome of the court's ruling.
The Supreme Court already weighed in on same-sex marriage, ruling in June 2008 that the constitution guaranteed that right. Herrera is confident that the court will give Prop 8 opponents a fair hearing and find the measure unconstitutional.
"We certainly think it will be and should be entertained," she said. "We think the California Supreme Court is the place to make such a ruling."
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Albion Monitor November
18, 2008 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)
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