As State Supremes Vow to Rule on Prop 8 Backers' Standing, Tom Harman Tries to Make Matter Moot

Harman Head Shot.JPG
Presumably non-gay State Sen. Tom Harman
The California Supreme Court yesterday agreed to analyze whether Proposition 8 proponents have standing to appeal a federal judge's ruling that lifted the ban on same-sex marriages in the Golden State--a legal detour that could delay an appellate decision on marriage equality by seven months.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Tom Harman (R-Costa Mesa) has introduced legislation that could make the standing issue moot by forcing the state attorney general to defend all voter-approved laws from legal challenges or authorize their sponsors to step in.

After Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop. 8 in August, sponsors of the voter-approved initiative appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But legal experts, most notably UC Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, immediately suggested Prop. 8 sponsors have no standing to appeal because the original case Walker ruled on was filed by two same-sex couples against California's governor and attorney general.

The Prop. 8 sponsors stepped in because then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-AG Jerry Brown declined to argue on behalf of the measure that was passed in 2008.

Ironically,  Harman tried to become attorney general himself, but he lost the GOP nomination to Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, who lost the general election by a hair to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

With legal eagles and Walker himself indicating they did not believe Prop. 8 backers have standing, the appellate court courageously . . . punted to the California Supreme Court.

"We cannot consider this important constitutional question unless the appellants before us have standing to raise it," the three-judge appeal panel whined in January.

That led to Wednesday's announcement from the Supremes at their San Francisco headquarters. The order stated it will give "expedited consideration" to the matter and could hear arguments as early as September. Its decision would be due within 90 days of that hearing.

In a statement issued yesterday by the Courage Campaign, founder and chairman Rick Jacobs said: "It is unfortunate that while many California families are able to marry at a time and place of their choosing, equally loving LGBT families must endure months and years of legal uncertainty.  They have waited long enough."

Jacobs then asked for an extra-expedited expedited ruling.

". . . [W]e are asking the California Supreme Court to move expeditiously to resolve the standing question once and for all. And we are confident that no matter what their decision, Judge Walker's ruling will ultimately be upheld and the days of second class citizenship for thousands of California families will be relegated to the dustbin of history."

Not if Tom Harman has anything to do with it.

State Senator Tom Harman
State Capitol, Room 5094
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4035
Fax: (916) 445-9263

State Senator Tom Harman
950 South Coast Drive, Ste. 240
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: (714) 957-4555
Fax: (714) 957-4560

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Gary Lindsay
Gary Lindsay

The legislature should put a repeal of prop 8 on the ballot and bypass the petition cycle. We know the majority of legislators support marriage equality, and it's pretty certain, 3 years later, that a majority of Californians do.

2000: Prop 22, 62% anti-Gay2008: Prop 8, 52% anti-Gay

You do the math for 2012.


The initiative process has become a "soap opera". Whoever has the most cash, and can get out the most believable lies in a campaign to fool voters... wins. But does this give them the right to defend the newly created law in court?

The Initiative Process a perfectly acceptable (unofficial) "fourth-branch of our democracy", originally set up to allow average citizens to unite and play a role in their own government. That is not what it’s become. Prop 8 is a perfect example of this.

The “People of the State of California” are not the defendants in the Prop 8 case, the Executive Branch is (Governor Schwarzenegger).

The 3 OFFICIAL branches should be able to regulate the initiative process. However, the ONLY regulation is when the Executive Branch (Governor and/or AG) refuses to defend a challenged Proposition (as in this case).

The Judicial system (CA Supreme Court) only upheld Prop 8 because the Initiative rights of the voters trumps the Civil Rights clause in our Constitution (that’s the rights of VOTERS… not the rights of the “special interest” that funded the proposition).

At this point, because Prop 8 is now written into the Constitution, the CA legislative branch can do nothing without consent from voters. In other words, “special interests” know that once they dupe the voters, they have a free ride all the way to the Constitution... even when their Amendment OBVIOUSLY discriminates against tax-paying citizens.

So, should these special interests be allowed to further their power over our democratic process, by representing “we the people” in court?

ANSWER: It would be impossible to place more restrictions on the Initiative Process… without making it inaccessible to individual tax-paying citizens (which was it’s original intent).

Therefore, the only logical option is to limit how far "special interests" (such as corporations and non-tax paying religious groups) can defend their initiative within the checks and balances system of the "Official" 3 branches of government.


Okay people, no matter which side of the fence you're on... Do you really think it's a good idea to allow PRIVATE, CORPORATE, Special Interest groups to "defend" a proposition they funded?

Keep in mind these "special interests" often (1) have deep financial pockets, (2) are usually NOT effected (accept for their profits) by these ballot measures, (3) they often DO NOT inform voters who is actually behind each proposition.

This is a list of the petitioners and funders for each Proposition on the CA Nov. '08 Ballot:

Prop 1a – High Speed RailPetitioned by: California State Assembly approved AB 3034Partially funded by: HNTB Corporation

Prop 2 - Humane Treatment of Farm AnimalsPetitioned by: The Humane Society Primarily funded by: The Humane Society

Prop 3 – Child HealthcarePetitioned by: Arno Political ConsultantsPrimary funded by: Various Private and Public Hospitals

Prop 4 – Abortion RightsPetitioned by Bader & Associates, Inc.Primarily funded by: James Holman

Prop 5 – Law Enforcement FundingPetitioned by: Progressive Campaigns, Inc. Primarily funded by: George Soros

Prop 6 – Law Enforcement FundingPetitioned by: National Petition ManagementPrimarily funded by: Henry Nicholas - Broadcom Corporation

Prop 7 – Renewable Utilities ResourcesPetitioned by: Progressive Campaigns, Inc.Primarily funded by: Peter Sperling / Jim Gonzalez & Associates

Prop 8 – Marriage RestrictionsPetitioned by: Bader & Associates, Inc.Primarily funded by: Knights of Columbus / Howard Ahmanson

Prop 9 – Law Enforcement FundingPetitioned by: Bader & Associates, Inc.Primarily funded by: Henry Nicholas - Broadcom Corporation

Prop 10 – Environmental FuelPetitioned by: Progressive Campaigns, Inc.Primarily funded by: Boone Pickens - Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (CEFC)

Prop 11 – Redistricting Commission / Election Reform Petitioned by: Kimball Petition ManagementPrimarily funded by: Gov. Schwarzenegger's California Dream Team

Prop 12 – Veteran’s Bond Act Petitioned by: Referred to the ballot in Senate Bill 1572Primarily funded by: ?

Only TWO (2) Ballot measure were actually introduced by State Representatives. ALL the rest were petitioned, funded, and supported by special interest groups.

Do you REALLY want these "special interests" defending they’re “special interest” in our judicial system? It's bad enough they have a right to spend millions fooling voters into amending our State Constitutions to accommodate their greed/dogma.

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault