When the state’s voters decide Proposition 8 this fall, it appears they will check “yes” or “no” next to a ballot title that reads: “Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.”
A Superior Court judge this morning rejected a suit filed by Prop. 8 proponents against the ballot title proposed by Attorney General Jerry Brown. Judge Timothy M. Frawley said Brown’s language was neither false nor misleading, handing a victory to gay rights supporters who want a clear statement of what a constitutional ban would mean for gay couples who have married in California this year.
Prop. 8 proponents said they will file an appeal today, but time is short: The ballot title, summary and partisan ballot arguments filed by each side are due at the state printer at 5 p.m. Monday.
Prop. 8 proponents had argued that using the word “eliminates” in a ballot title and summary was argumentative, misleading and prejudicial, because it was a negative, active transitive word – grammar that had rarely, if ever, been used in a state ballot title. They preferred “Limit on Marriage,” the title on petitions signed by voters that placed Prop. 8 on the November ballot.
Frawley disagreed with those arguments.
“There is nothing inherently argumentative or prejudicial about transitive verbs, and the Court is not willing to fashion a rule that would require the Attorney General to engage in useless nominalization,” Frawley ruled in a decision released today.
While it was the Attorney General’s office who argued the case in a hearing in Sacramento on Thursday and won the legal victory, same-sex marriage advocates were pleased.
“We believe the title and summary is very accurate,” Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California, said following the decision today. “There’s no disputing what this measure does. First and foremost, what it does is eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California.”