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Calif. High Court To Review Proposition 8

(CN) - The California Supreme Court agreed on Wednesday to decide if a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional, but stopped short of suspending Proposition 8.

Several cities and civil rights groups challenged Prop 8, which overturned a May decision by the California Supreme Court that legalized gay marriage.

In its order for review, the high court directed the parties to argue three issues:

- Is Prop 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?

- Does Prop 8 violate the separation-of-powers doctrine under the California Constitution?

- And if Prop 8 is unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on gay marriages performed before the proposition passed?

Six of the seven justices signed the order. Justice Carlos Moreno joined the order, but said he would've granted the requests to stay Prop 8.

The only non-signing justice, Justice Joyce Kennard, said she "would deny these petitions without prejudice to the filing in this court of an appropriate action to determine Proposition 8's effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before Proposition 8's adoption."

The first legal briefs are due Dec. 19, with a reply due in early January. Oral arguments are expected to begin in March.

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