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Court Rules Right to Appeal Prop 8

The court said the citizen's lawmaking power, granted by the California constitution, continues even when the proposition has been approved or rejected by voters.

California Supreme Court judges ruled Thursday that sponsors of Proposition 8 and other ballot measures can move forward and defend their initiatives in court when the governor and attorney general refuse to do so.

(ATVN)
(ATVN)

The court said the citizen's lawmaking power, granted by the California constitution, continues even when the proposition has been approved or rejected by voters.

"We conclude that California law authorizes the official proponents, under such circumstances, to appear in the preceeding to assert the state's interest in the initiative's validity and to appeal a judgment invalidating the measure," the ruling stated.

Previously Gov. Jerry Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to appeal voters' decision on Prop 8 that banned gay marriage in California.

The new ruling establishes a state precedent that would be used when the attorney general or governor decline to defend the initiatives and allow supporters of the initiative to go to court without the support of state officials.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released a statement following the ruling:

"While the Department of Justice argued the Proposition 8 proponents do not have standing to pursue this appeal, the court has ruled otherwise. This ruling now shifts the litigation to the federal court of appeals. I firmly believe that Proposition 8 violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S Constitution and am confident that justices will prevail."

A federal trial judge ruled in 2010 that proposition 8 was a violation of gay California's civil rights. Two gay couples sued to overturn the ban on gay marriage. The couple argued that if they did not have the right to an appeal the trial judge's decision should stand.

The appeals court panel will decide if they will follow the Supreme Court ruling and how it will affect Prop 8.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story. 

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