If you don’t like loud and noisy crowds, stay away from San Francisco’s Civic Center area on March 5. Large groups of people spitting curses and epithets at each other are guaranteed that day.
Earlier today, the California Supreme Court sent a surge of electricity into the air by announcing it will hear oral arguments for three hours on March 5 in its San Francisco courtroom to determine whether Proposition 8 can stand. As you may recall, that ballot measure, passed by 52 percent of voters on Nov. 4, outlawed same-sex marriage in California.
After the jump: There will also be excitement in the courtroom …
Since the Supreme Court had called a ban against gay marriages unconstitutional less than six months earlier, the vote led to huge and vocal protests in the streets. Three cases were immediately filed to overturn the measure — Strauss v. Horton, S168047; Tyler v. State of California, S168066; and City and County of San Francisco v. Horton, S168078.
Among the arguments against Prop 8 is Attorney General Jerry Brown’s contention that the measure is unconstitutional on its face because it deprives a suspect class — homosexuals — of fundamental rights. Opponents say Prop 8 was a valid expression of the people’s will.
When arguments begin at 9 a.m. on March 5, Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights; Gloria Allred, a partner in Los Angeles’ Allred Maroko & Goldberg; San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart; and the AG’s office, most likely represented by Sacramento-based Deputy AG Christopher Krueger, will have 30 minutes each to argue against Prop 8.
Their opponents, represented by Pepperdine University School of Law dean Kenneth Starr, will get 60 minutes.
The arguments will be broadcast live on the California Channel, which will act as a pool station. Since the courtroom will be packed, court officials plan to provide overflow viewing in the Milton Marks Conference Center on the lower level of the California Supreme Court building at 455 Golden Gate Ave.
According to the court and one of parties in the three cases, 63 amici curiae briefs, representing the interests of more than 300 groups and individuals, have been filed with the court. Forty-three favor overturning Prop 8.
The previous record for amicus briefs was 45 for last year’s same-sex marriage case.
— Mike McKee