Jerry Brown isn’t exactly calling Prop. 8 supporters liars. But he comes pretty darn close in arguments filed with the Sacramento County Superior Court late Monday.
Backers of Prop. 8, the November initiative that would ban same-sex marriage, are suing Brown, claiming that the “negative, transitive active” ballot title his office prepared — “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry” — effectively editorializes against the measure. In fact, Prop. 8 supporters said, they scoured 50 years of initiative titles and couldn’t find a single one that started with “eliminates.”
Well, attorneys in the AG’s office said they did a minutes-long word search and found two past California propositions that included the word “eliminates” in their titles. Granted, those titles didn’t begin with the word “eliminates,” but no matter, Brown said. “There is no factual basis to argue that the title and summary for Proposition 8 is so radically different from past practice as to suggest bias,” Brown wrote. “Certainly, petitioner cannot even hope to meet the legal standard of demonstrative by "clear and convincing proof” that the title and summary and ballot label are false, misleading or otherwise violate the Elections Code.”
Brown also threw in this interesting tidbit: “Petitioner asserts that Proposition 8 would affect the recognition of marriages already entered into by same-sex couples … (T)he attorney general believes that petitioner is incorrect ….”
There are a lot of differing legal opinions about what will happen to recent same-sex marriages should Prop. 8 pass — CalLaw rounded them up in May . But the fact that the AG — a very possible gubernatorial candidate — says they’ll remain valid will surely rally Prop. 8 foes.
All this arguing over ballot language goes before Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on Thursday. In the meantime, you can read all the arguments at the court’s Web site by searching in the case index under Jansson v. Bowen.
— Cheryl Miller