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Monday, October 5, 2009

Prop 8 Backers Want To Dump Attorney General As Co-Defendant

From an article today by Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury News:

Gay-marriage opponents have asked a federal judge to shift Attorney General Jerry Brown to the plaintiffs' side of a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, arguing that his refusal to defend the law makes him an adversary in the legal fight.

In court papers filed late Friday, Proposition 8 backers argue that allowing Brown to remain as a named defendant in the case "unfairly advances" the challenge to the gay-marriage ban because, like the plaintiffs, the attorney general maintains California's law against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

In numerous legal briefs, Brown has sided with the plaintiffs' central legal argument that Proposition 8 violates the equal protection rights of same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. It is a rare example of the state's top lawyer declining to defend a California law in the courts.

Lawyers for same-sex couples have sued in San Francisco federal court to overturn Proposition 8, approved by voters last year to restore the state's ban on gay marriages. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has scheduled a trial for January on the legal challenge, which many legal experts predict may eventually offer the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to address the controversial issue.

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