The California Supreme Court denied a petition that called for the removal of Proposition 8 from the November ballot. This occurred on July 16, 2008 and asserted that the proposition was only a revision of the constitution, which is something that the Legislature or a constitutional convention would have to put to the voters. On May 26, 2009 the California Supreme Court ruled that this was not a revision and thus could be on the ballot.
Opponents argued that the petitions that were circulated did not accurately summarize it. However, this was denied by the court without any comments ever being made. The California Supreme Court did state that any same sex marriages that occurred before this were to remain valid.Challenges To The Title And The Summary
According to the ballot summary, Proposition 8 was said to “change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry in California.”
Proponents objected to the wording saying that it was prejudicial. This resulted in Jansson v. Bowen, which was dismissed on August 7, 2008 by California Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley because these changes were valid since they eliminated a right that was upheld by the California Supreme Court. Another attorney, General Jerry Brown, went on to explain that these changes were necessary to “accurately reflect the measure” because the California Supreme Court’s intervened In re Marriage Cases.
A legal challenge was mounted on July 22, 2008 in order to revise the ballot’s title and summary because they still felt that it was prejudiced. They showed research stating that active verbs had never been used in the past by an attorney general. The Attorney General disagreed, vouching for its neutrality and accuracy.
The California Superior Court turned down this legal challenge on August 8, 2008. They gave it a new title and summary. This led proponents to file an emergency appeal with the state appeals court, which was subsequently denied. Nobody took the issue to the Supreme Court of California.
The California Superior Court found that the Yes on 8 campaign overstated its ballot argument on how this measure would impact public schools. Thus, they ordered a minor change in the wording. While Yes on 8 said that kindergarteners would be told that heterosexual and homosexual marriage were both the same, the court said this was not true because marriage instruction is not required and parents can opt out of it. So, wording was changed to “may” or “could” instead.