San Francisco v. Horton--Brief Amicus Curiae of Family Research Council in Support of IntervenersBy Family Research Council
City and County of San Francisco et al.,
Mark B. Horton, as State Registrar of Vital Statistics, etc., et al.,
Brief of Amicus Curiae,
Family Research Council in support of interveners
Summary of Argument
This case involves matters of utmost concern to citizens in a constitutional republic. To be sure, the future of marriage in California weighs in the balance, but the issues presented herein are much broader than the definition of society's most foundational social instiution. Petitioners frame their arguments in terms of constitutional distinction between a "revision" and an "amendment," and the Attorney General discusses issues of "inalienable" rights. While these arguments present distinct considerations of their wown, one fundamental question subsumes them both: What authority lies in the people to alter their constitution? In an effort to best address the underlying issues raised by all Petitionaers and the Attorney General, Amicus focuses on this overarching, axiomatic issue of the people's role under California's constituitional system of government.
Amicus acknowledges that if the enactment of Proposition 8 did not comply with the requisite procedures for amending the Constitution, this Court's recognition of that procedural deficiency would be a valid exercise of its judicial-review power. But Petitioners' arguments, while cloaked in the procedural language of "revisions" and "amendments," go much beyond that; their attacks impugn the people's sovereignty -- the foundation of California's system of government. To that extent that Petitioners awkwardly attempt to fit their arguments within the revision-amendment framework, Interveners and the Attorney General have persuasively demonstrated the lack of merit in those altogether clumsy contentions. (See Intnr. Opp. Br. at pp. 6-30; Gov. Ans. Br. at pp. 22-53.) Thus, in order to supplement rather than repeat Interveners' arguments, this brief focuses on the history surrounding the people's intrinsic right to change their Constitution.