California AG Jerry Brown promised to uphold the will of the people.
Then the anti-Prop. 8 mob reared its ugly head.
So, now he’s changed his mind.
Feel the power of the rainbow-colored fist:
The California attorney general has changed his position on the state’s new same-sex marriage ban and is now urging the state Supreme Court to void Proposition 8.
Jerry Brown filed a brief Friday saying the measure that amended the California Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman is unconstitutional. He says it deprives gay couples of a fundamental right.
After California voters passed Proposition 8 on Nov. 4, Brown said he would fight to uphold the initiative in his role as attorney general, even though he personally voted against it.
He submitted his brief in one of the three legal challenges to Proposition 8 brought by same-sex marriage supporters.
More on his brief from LAT:
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It is the attorney general’s duty to defend the state’s laws, and after gay rights activists filed legal challenges to Proposition 8, which amended the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, Brown said he planned to defend the proposition as enacted by the people of California.
But after studying the matter, Brown concluded that “Proposition 8 must be invalidated because the amendment process cannot be used to extinguish fundamental constitutional rights without compelling justification.”
Backers of Proposition 8 expressed anger at Brown’s decision not to honor the will of voters, who approved the measure in November. “It’s outrageous,”said Frank Schubert, campaign manager for Proposition 8.
Proposition 8 foes, however, were elated. “Atty. Gen. Brown’s position that Proposition 8 should be invalidated demonstrates that he is a leader of courage and conviction,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.
In his brief to the high court, Brown noted that the California Constitution says that “all people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights,” which include a right to “privacy.”
The courts have previously said the right of a person to marry is protected as one of those inalienable rights, Brown wrote. The question at the center of the gay marriage cases, he told the justices, “is whether rights secured under the state Constitution’s safeguard of liberty as an ‘inalienable’ right may intentionally be withdrawn from a class of persons by an initiative amendment.” That, he concluded, should not be allowed.
Although voters are allowed to amend other parts of the Constitution by majority vote, to use the ballot box to take away an “inalienable” right would establish a “tyranny of the majority,” which the Constitution was designed, in part, to prevent, he wrote. “For we are talking, necessarily, about rights of individuals or groups against the larger community, and against the majority — even an overwhelming majority — of the society as a whole.”
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