The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ali Bay, Communications Manager

(916) 284-9187

Senate, Assembly Resolutions Support Invalidation of Proposition 8

Leno, Ammiano Measures, Sponsored by EQCA, Call Initiative an Improper Constitutional Revision, Bypassing Legislature’s Authority in Constitution’s Checks and Balances Process


On the second day
of the new 2009-10 legislative session, lawmakers in both the Senate
and Assembly introduced resolutions that support the overturning of
Proposition 8. Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco and Assemblymember
Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, today introduced measures to put the
Legislature on record opposing Prop 8 and declaring that the initiative
is an improper revision to the Constitution.

resolutions are sponsored by Equality California and were drafted by
EQCA and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, plaintiff and lead
counsel, respectively, in the marriage case brought before the
California Supreme Court.

Leno's Senate Resolution 7 and Ammiano's Assembly Resolution (number to
be assigned) specify that significant revisions to the Constitution
mandate distinct procedures and require a two-thirds vote of each house
of the Legislature before going to voters. The resolutions are
co-authored by Sen. Christine Kehoe and Assemblymember John A. Perez,
both members of the LGBT Legislative Caucus, and Senate Pro Tem Speaker
Darrell Steinberg.

"Prop 8 eliminates the fundamental right to marry from same-sex couples
and allows a slim majority to take away the equal protections of a
single minority group, which violates one of the fundamental and
founding principles of our Constitution," said EQCA Executive Director
Geoff Kors. "That type of unprecedented change to the Constitution puts
the rights of all Californians at risk, and it's critical in our system
of checks and balances that the Legislature weigh in on such
fundamental revisions to the Constitution."

The California Supreme Court is reviewing the validity of Prop 8, which
passed by a narrow margin of 52 percent on November 4. Several lawsuits
have challenged the initiative, including one filed on behalf of EQCA
and several same-sex couples. That lawsuit was filed by the National
Center for Lesbian Rights, American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda
Legal. Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court held that
barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection
clause of the California Constitution and violates the fundamental
right to marry.

"Proposition 8's revision to the California Constitution violates key
structural checks and balances built into our legal system," said Sen.
Leno. "Overnight, the constitutional protections of thousands of tax
paying, law abiding California citizens were stripped from them by a
simple majority vote, without a prior two-thirds vote by both houses of
the legislature, thereby trampling on their fundamental right to equal

"Any major revision to the state Constitution should not be allowed to
circumvent the legal system," said Assemblymember Ammiano. "The fact
is, Proposition 8 was improperly instituted through the ballot process
without legislative involvement. I am proud to author this crucial
resolution urging the courts to right the social travesty of
Proposition 8 and ensure any similar future measures are approached in
an appropriate and legal manner."

If it stands, Prop 8 would be the only California initiative to
successfully change the California Constitution to take away a right
from a targeted minority group.

"Equality California is working to ensure there is broad support for
both resolutions within the Legislature," Kors said. "Additionally, we
need people who support equality to take action immediately and
encourage their representatives to support these resolutions. They can
email their lawmakers directly at"

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.