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California AG Jerry Brown: End Gay Marriage Ban

Wednesday, 04 Mar 2009 08:43 AM

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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.

© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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