A Superior Court judge in Sacramento County today rejected an effort by proponents of Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage initiative on November's ballot, to force Attorney General Jerry Brown to rewrite his ballot title and summary of the measure.
Brown had originally titled the measure "Limits on Marriage," but after the state Supreme Court's ruling in May that the state's restriction on marriages to opposite-sex couples was discriminatory, he rewrote the title. It now says: "Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry."
In his ruling, Judge Timothy Frawley says the new title is accurate because the facts of the issue changed since Brown wrote his original version:
"The court rejects petitioner's argument that the title is argumentative because it states as fact that same-sex couples have a 'right' to marry. This statement is not argumentative, prejudicial, or controversial, in light of the California Supreme Court's decision in the Marriage Cases, which recognized the right. This court is bound to follow the Supreme Court's decision."
Following the decision, Brown released a two-sentence statement: "This lawsuit was more about politics than the law. The court properly dismissed it."
Proponents said they will appeal the decision and hope to get it reversed by Monday, when the official voter information pamphlets will go to press.
The group's press release quotes its legal counsel, Andrew Pugno: "The language in the ballot ttle & summary for Proposition 8 is argumentative and seeks to negatively affect voters. Since the Superior Court would not exercise its authority to protect voters against misleading language, we will ask the Appellate Court to do so."