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California high court agrees to hear Proposition 8 challenges

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of California [official website] on Wednesday agreed [order, PDF; press release] to hear challenges to Proposition 8 [text, materials], the ballot measure that amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, while refusing a petition to stay [text, PDF] its enforcement. The court will begin hearing arguments in March to determine whether Proposition 8 violates the state constitution and, if not, its effect on existing same-sex marriages. Petitioners contend the initiative is a constitutional revision, not an amendment, and requires approval from two-thirds of the state legislature [official website]. AP has more. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.

The ruling follows two weeks of protests [NYT report; JURIST report] and petitions [materials] challenging the amendment since its approval [JURIST reports] by voters on November 4. Since then, gay rights advocacy groups have especially targeted [advocacy website] the Mormon church [official website], arguing that it should lose its tax-exempt status as a religious organization for partisan activism. Yes on 8 [advocacy website] estimates that 40 percent [SF Chronicle report] of its more than $28 million [JURIST report] came from Mormons.

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