The latest scrap over California's Prop. 8—the "traditional marriage" amendment—is about the language that will greet voters when they go to the polls. Prop. 8 proponents wanted it to say this:
Amends the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown changed it to say this:
Changes California Constitution to eliminate right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Fiscal Impact: Over the next few years, potential revenue loss, mainly sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments. In the long run, likely little fiscal impact to state and local governments.
Proponents see that, correctly, as a poison pill that will turn undecided voters against their measure. They're suing to change it back. Brown's having none of it.
"What has happened is the Supreme Court found that the right to marriage includes same-sex couples," the attorney general said in an interview. "This happened after the original title was approved. … Now same-sex couples have a right that's recognized and supporters of the proposition want to eliminate that right."
Prop. 8 supporters, Brown said, "can't say with a straight face that this isn't about eliminating the right to gay marriage, so what's their problem with this? This is a political lawsuit, not one about serious legal issues."