California marriage amend to be decided

The legal battle to determine the constitutionality of one-man, one-woman marriage began in a San Francisco federal courthouse in mid-January.

The challenge is to Proposition 8, which California voters approved in November 2008. There already has been an unusual twist, according to Jordan Lorence, an attorney defending the amendment. “What is significant, and somewhat unusual, is that the judge asked a lot of questions,” Lorence said. “You don’t have judges interrupting the opening arguments.”

The Supreme Court of California created same-sex marriage in 2008, even though the justices knew the issue was about to go to a vote.

Ron Prentice, executive director of ProtectMarriage.com, said the future of marriage may be riding on this court case. “It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this case to the future of marriage in America. Not only is the constitutionality of California’s Prop. 8 at stake, but so are the marriage laws of 45 other states and the federal Defense of Marriage Act,” Prentice said. “Prayers and support have sustained us and give us confidence that we will prevail in this historic battle.”

No cameras will be allowed to record the proceedings, after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Judge Vaughn Walker. “Its express purpose was to broadcast a high-profile trial that would include witness testimony about a contentious issue,” the high court wrote.

Judge Walker tried to hurry up the process of changing court rules to allow the cameras in the courtroom, even for showing witnesses.

“If courts are to require that others follow regular procedures, courts must do so as well,” the opinion read.

Matthew McReynolds, attorney with the Pacific Justice Institute, was pleased with the strong wording. “We have to do things by rules, and that’s how courts earn respect,” he said. “By following order and decorum, we earn respect.”

Inside the courtroom, San Francisco’s chief economist, Edmund Egan, was cross-examined by lawyers for the California marriage amendment. Egan conceded that he hadn’t done enough research to tell the financial impact of same-sex marriage on San Francisco.

California voters approved the amendment, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman, in November 2008. >

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