March 2, 2009 Sacramento – Both the California Senate and Assembly passed resolutions today opposing Proposition 8 as an illegal and unprecedented revision to the state Constitution. According to the resolutions, Prop. 8 illegally usurps the legislature’s role to vote on all fundamental revisions to the Constitution. By taking away the fundamental freedom to marry from one particular group, Prop. 8 alters the very intent of the Constitution, which is to treat all people equally under the law.
The resolutions, Senate Resolution 7 and House Resolution 5, are sponsored by Equality California (EQCA) and were introduced by Senator Mark Leno and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, respectively, both of San Francisco. In addition, a full 17 Senators and 40 Assemblymembers signed on as resolution co-authors. The Senate resolution passed by a final vote of 18-14, whereas the Assembly version passed 44-27.
“This is the first time in our state’s history that the initiative process has been used to take away a fundamental freedom from one particular group,” said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. “Our legislators understand this is an unequivocal change to our State’s Constitution, which is to protect and empower all people equally.”
"Both houses of the Legislature recognize that Proposition 8 undermines the fundamental principle of equal protection guaranteed by the California Constitution," said Senator Leno. "Proposition 8’s revision to the California Constitution violated key structural checks and balances in the state’s legal system when it was approved by a slim majority of voters last November. If Proposition 8 stands, we would be setting a dangerous precedent in California that allows a majority of the people to deny equal protection under the law to a minority of Californians."
“Our state guarantees a system of checks and balances to prevent discrimination like Prop. 8,” said Ammiano. “Prop. 8 flouts that system as it alters the very nature of our Constitution and bypasses the constitutionally-assigned duty of the Legislature to begin the process of making fundamental revisions. If Prop. 8 is allowed to stand, the rights of every minority group will be at risk and our Courts and our Legislature will be powerless to stop it.”
The Supreme Court of California is scheduled to hear arguments challenging Prop. 8 on March 5th.
“We are thankful that our elected representatives have sided with the people in standing up against this dangerous and unprecedented revision,” Kors continued. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will do the same.”
Two weeks ago, nearly 1,000 volunteers traveled to Sacramento as part of EQCA’s Lobby Day, where they met directly with legislators and urged them to support the resolutions. Last week, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) weighed in on the threat all minorities face if Prop. 8 is not overturned. In a letter to the state’s legislators, NAACP National Board Chair Julian Bond and President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous urged the swift passage of both resolutions.