California's highest court has agreed to hear a series of cases challenging the ballot measure that overturned its decision to legalize same-sex marriage.
How are these legal battles shaping up? Click play for more insight from Maggie Gallagher, with the National Organization for Marriage, following this report.
In a closed session, the California Supreme Court accepted three lawsuits challenging the validity of Proposition 8 - passed by voter Nov. 4 to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
The three cases argue that voters had no legal right to put a stop to gay marriage, which had been legalized by state's Supreme Court in May.
Before the court makes a ruling on the Prop 8 battle, those involved in the lawsuits must answer and argue three questions:
- Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?
- Does Proposition 8 violate the separation-of-powers doctrine under the California Constitution?
- If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?
Opponents argue that Prop. 8 was a constitutional revision rather than an amendment that defined long-standing tradition. If they are able to prove this, the initiative would need a two-thirds vote by the Legislature to pass.
Briefings on the matter will be begin Jan. 2009 and oral arguments could begin as early as March.
Gay couples, however, will not be allowed to marry until the court can decide the matter.
Though rare, the court has struck down voter initiatives in the past. In 1966, the court ruled against a measure that permitted racial discrimination in housing. Federal courts also overturned Proposition 187, an anti-immigration law passed by voters in 1994.
Sources: CBN News, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press