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Commentary: Fast action needed on Prop 8

This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.

The California Supreme Court could decide as early as today two huge legal issues related to Proposition 8. That's the ballot initiative with which a majority of voters changed the California Constitution to eliminate same-sex marriage.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown has set the right tone in his recommendation to the justices. He's written briefs saying that the high court should resolve issues promptly and should not punt by refusing to take the cases or by dumping them on lower courts.

First, should the high court take up the issue of whether Proposition 8 creates far-reaching, sweeping or profound changes to the California Constitution? Yes.

An actual ruling may take a little bit of time. But, as Brown notes, the public interest would be best served if the high court took on the issue, got briefs quickly and resolved it promptly. As Brown has said, because the issues are "strictly legal in nature," they "do not require fact-finding by a trial court."

At issue is Article I, The Declaration of Rights. Section 7 says:

"A person may not be denied equal protection of the laws" and,

"A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens."

If the justices do decide that Proposition 8 is a radical revision to the constitution, that change cannot occur only by a direct vote of the people in an initiative.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.

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