SAN FRANCISCO – California's top lawyer has called for the result of a referendum effectively banning same-sex marriage to be quashed, two days ahead of the latest court-room showdown over the issue.
Attorney General Jerry Brown said the ballot measure known as Proposition 8, which redefined marriage in California as a union between a man and a woman, should be invalidated because it "discriminates against same-sex couples."
On Thursday, supporters of same-sex marriage are to go before California's Supreme Court in San Francisco to argue for the ballot measure to be invalidated in the latest twist to the long-running legal battle.
Brown said Tuesday the Supreme Court should strike down the measure on the grounds that same-sex couples had an "inalienable" right to marry that should not be allowed to be taken away by a simple majority vote.
He compared the current dispute to a case in 1964, where the California and US Supreme Courts quashed a voter measure that would have allowed racial discrimination in renting or selling of property.
"As California's Attorney General, I believe the Court should strike down Proposition 8 for remarkably similar reasons -- because it unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and deprives them of the fundamental right to marry," Brown said.
Proposition 8, backed by social conservatives and religious groups, was passed by a margin of 52.5 to 47.5 percent in the November 4 election.
However the outcome triggered outrage amongst gay rights activists in California, where same-sex marriage was legalized earlier in 2008 after the state Supreme Court overturned a previous ban.
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