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Calif. Justices Hear Arguments on Prop 8

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The California Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the state's highly controversial voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

A panel of seven Supreme Court justices heard arguments that addressed three issues regarding Prop. 8. First, whether Prop. 8 is invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution. Second, whether or not Prop. 8 violates the separation of powers doctrine under California Constitution. Third, if Prop. 8 is constitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples prior to its adoption.

Attorneys representing clients in three cases, Strauss v. Horton, Tyler v. State, and City of San Francisco v. Horton argued against the constitutionality of Prop. 8 by comparing it to other discriminatory situations both real and hypothetical.

Justice Kennard broke down the complicated issue by saying the fundamental question has to do with the "power of the people to amend the Constitution." She said that she "does not believe that Prop. 8 took away all rights [of same sex couples because] domestic partnership is still available."

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