Court: Language on CA Gay Marriage Ballot Measure to Stay

In response to a suit brought by anti-gay groups, a court ruled today that California state officials do not have to rewrite the language on the Proposition 8 California ballot measure that declares the proposition would “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

CaliforniarainbowAttorney General Jerry Brown recently changed the word in the anti-gay ballot measure proposition 8 to accurately reflect the fact that it would actually remove a right from many Californians.

The language was changed from “to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” to the more accurate “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

According to CBS5, “Brown responded to Friday’s decision by saying the court properly dismissed a lawsuit that ‘was more about politics than the law.’ The initiative’s supporters said they would appeal. They say Brown’s descriptions contrasted with the attorney general’s routine practice of selecting ballot titles that state the subject matter of an initiative in a neutral way. ‘Election ballot titles should be neutral and not intentionally prejudice voters,’ Joseph Infranco, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said in a statement. ‘The ballot title is argumentative and not impartial.'”


  1. Paul R says

    I’m a writer and editor by trade (no jokes about rough trade, please), and all these anti and pro statements are confusing as hell even to me.

  2. thin mint says

    Jerry Brown has had his ups and downs over the years, but he’s really stepped up to the plate on this one.

    Of course, his language is neutral and factual. The court has found that Californians have the legal right to marry, and the initiative seeks to remove that existing right.

  3. Mike says

    This lawsuit is so frivolous and cynical – they obviously want to take away the right from gays to marry, they don’t want to say it however because they know that most people think TWICE before taking away rights from anyone, lest next time it be them… I certainly hope they are paying the court costs.. ugh…

  4. Brian from California says

    That’s great news! But, ummmm….Jerry Brown isn’t our Secretary of State. He’s the Attorney General. Debra Bowen is Secretary of State.

    In any event, good ol’ Jerry came up with the revised language, and he’s also said that even if Proposition H8 passes, it’s his view that marriages performed in the interim (like mine!) will remain valid.

    Our next gubernatorial race is going to be fascinating. It could come down in the primaries to Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown –a hero on the marriage equality issue, and someone who is fast becoming one…

  5. Jon says

    “Joseph Infranco, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, said in a statement. ‘The ballot title is argumentative and not impartial.'””

    …because the Alliance Defense Fund is known for being so impartial. I wish these folks would find something better to do with their time.

  6. hill_w says

    The L.A. Times came out strongly against passage of the Prop in today’s Editorials. Still, we have to continue working to get out the “NO” vote come November!

  7. Dennis Palmieri says

    Great news! But Jerry Brown is CA’s Atty General not Secretary of State. Though its easy to confuse as there is almost no office the man has not either held or run for!

  8. says

    Jerry’s not our Sec of State, but Debra Bowen will come through on this too.

    I was just reading the article in the San Jose Mercury News online. This ROCKS!!

    Imagine if other nutless Secretaties of State had the courage to label their “Hording Heterosexual Marriage” acts to indicate that these ballot measures will deprive taxpaying american adults from enjoying the same privileges as other taxpaying american adults, simply because the church says so…

  9. rudy says

    Ultimate victory is in sight. This interim vicotry should make all of us redouble our efforts to defeat this proposition and ensure marriage eqaulity. California will truly be a tipping point for gay marraige equality as it was for anti-miscegenation laws.

  10. RB says

    This vote will propel the country forward. For those that live there, work hard to defeat the proposition! Those of us in the other 49 states are watching, hoping to one day have the same opportunity. One day, we will be equal. Love you guys…don’t take no for an answer. We support your efforts!

  11. duane Harrison says

    I will support the right to marry till my last drop of blood. I am so tired of the of being unhappy because I cant have the one I love because he is in another country and gays dont have any rights as far as petitioning a loving partner. So I cant live with my partner because of that so, hell yeah I will support gay marriage with all my might. These self rightous people who want to tell me I cant be happy the fight for equality is on, and shall get stronger as years to come until the prejudice is overcome. If people can just live and let live this world would be a better place.

  12. duane Harrison says

    Most all hatred and wars are caused by religious beliefs. Stop the hate, stop the stone throwing, stop blood shedding, hate is not a Gods value. A study shows that married gays HIV rate is significantly lower in countrys that allow gay marriage.

  13. devon says

    Jerry Brown has always been very gay friendly.
    As gov in the 70’s he added sexual orientation protections to UC and state workers.
    He would make a most excellent gov again.

  14. devon says

    Jerry Brown has always been very gay friendly.
    As gov in the 70’s he added sexual orientation protections to UC and state workers.
    He would make a most excellent gov again.

  15. anon says

    There have been cases in several states where it could be argued that ballot language was egregiously ambiguous or deceptive, and that’s after being written by the officials in charge. This is always a political football. Technically, the “right” to marry in California is “not enumerated” but rather “subject to the emanations of the goals of the constitution”, but the courts over many years have basically built an addition onto the state constitution in favor of marriage for all. In that sense, the wording is neutral, and of course, the court would agree to it. Overall, the language as it stands now is fair to all sides.