A social conservative legal organization is attempting to force the State of California to defend Proposition 8.
The Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute has petitioned the 3rd District Court of Appeal to compel Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to defend the ballot initiative against its current legal challenge in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The institute is arguing that as the state's chief law enforcement officer, Brown does not have discretion to defend only laws with which he personally agrees. And because the California Constitution gives the governor final say when he and the attorney general disagree on legal matters, Schwarzenegger must be compelled to file an appeal to preserve Proposition 8 as well, the group's lawsuit states.
The institute brought its motion on behalf of Joshua Beckley, pastor of Ecclesia Christian Fellowship church in San Bernardino, and included with it a declaration of support from former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III. Meese, who served one term as attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and Reagan's legal adviser when he was governor of California, said that Schwarzenegger and Brown's positions were at odds with his own experience.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who declared the initiative unconstitutional August 4 in a landmark ruling, has suggested that only the state has "standing" to defend the law. Brown and Schwarzenegger filed motions arguing that same-sex weddings should be allowed immediately before the Ninth Circuit issued a stay.
The appeal will be heard in San Francisco on December 6th.