In [the brief], she argued that only public officials exercising the executive power of government have authority to represent the state when laws passed by voters or the Legislature are challenged. "California law affords an initiative’s proponents no right to defend the validity of a successful initiative measure based only on their role in launching an initiative process," Harris wrote. [...]
Lawyers for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that qualified the gay marriage measure for the ballot and campaigned for its passage have argued that initiative proponents need to be allowed to advocate for laws in court to prevent elected officials from effectively vetoing measures by not defending them in court.
Harris contended in her brief that rather than empowering citizens, granting the sponsors of initiatives the ability to overrule the governor and attorney general’s judgment "would rob the electors of power by taking the executive power from elected officials and placing it instead in the hands of a few highly motivated but politically unaccountable individuals."
Harris is the former San Francisco District Attorney and a veteran equality advocate. Speaking in December 2010 at her first news conference as Attorney General-Elect, you'll recall she reiterated a core campaign promise: "We will not defend Proposition 8 because it is simply unconstitutional."
On January 4, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals punted the appeal of the landmark Prop 8 ruling to the California Supreme Court. The California Supreme Court must first decide if Prop 8's sponsors can defend the ban. A hearing is expected soon.