Anti Prop 8 Counsel Visits Law School
November 21, 2008 — Attorney David Codell, the lead counsel for the challenge against California’s ban on same-sex marriage, talked with Earle Mack School of Law students on Nov. 21 about efforts to repeal the recently enacted prohibition.
Speaking in a packed lecture hall, Codell said Proposition 8, the ballot measure California voters approved on Nov. 4, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the constitution because it strips a basic right away from one set of people.
“If voters could vote away the most fundamental right for one group of people, what’s next,” Codell asked.
The ballot measure – approved by 52 percent of California voters – reverses the stance taken by state courts, which have concluded that limiting same-sex couples to domestic partnerships does not confer equality, Codell said.
In May, the state’s Supreme Court affirmed the legality of gay marriage, ruling that a state ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Codell was one of the principal attorneys who argued that case before California’s high court.
The California Supreme Court has already agreed to hear challenges to Proposition 8 that a legal team including Codell has brought.
Codell said the measure would radically alter the state constitution, and therefore should not have gone before voters.
California’s constitution allows voters to approve amendments, Codell said, while wholesale revisions require legislative approval in addition to a public referendum or special convention.
“Proposition 8 is the first time in California history that the initiative process has been
allowed to undermine equal protection,” Codell said.
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