CA Supreme Court Hears Prop 8 Arguments

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Conservatives in California believe they may have lost a battle, but won the war.

That is the response of many who watched the events during Thursday's Supreme Court hearing on Proposition Eight -- the voter-approved marriage amendment.

The California Channel broadcast the court arguments. It was expected to be the most widely-watched hearing in a generation.

Click play for comments on the case from Jay Sekulow of American Center for Law & Justice.

The public's interest in the case was also clear outside the courthouse, where demonstrators from both sides lined the streets.

Inside, the three-hour hearing showed the justice's doubts about overturning Prop 8.

"The people have created the Constitution and I think what you're overlooking is the very broad power of the people to amend by initiative the Constitution," said Justice Joyce L. Kennard.

Opponents of Prop 8 argued that it illegally revises the state constitution.

"The analysis is, if it's outside the parameters, if it's a fundamental restructuring, if it's going to change the laws in a fundamental way and the branches of government--that itself is a revision, not an amendment," argued the Asian Pacific American Legal Center's Raymond C. Marshall.

Attorney Shannon Minter said removing the rights of a minority substantially changes the constitution.

"The core of our argument is that a simply majority cannot take away rights from a historically disadvantaged minority," he said.

But even some of the justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage last May, didn't appear convinced.

"It seems that what your argument really boils down to is the practical, but perhaps more political than legal matter," said Justice Ronald M. George. "It's just too easy to amend the California constitution.

Supporters of Prop 8 argued for the rights of the voters who passed Prop 8.

"What we have not heard a lot from the other side is this inalienable right of the people of California, whether wisely or no, to change the constitution," argued Kenneth Starr.

Starr did not appear to convince justices to invalidate the thousands of gay marriages performed in California last year, before Prop 8 passed.

But that sticky issue seemed to be priority number two for justices and counsel alike.

By law, the court has up to 90 days to decide the fate of Prop 8. Court watchers say a decision may come as early as mid-May.

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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