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Calif. Assembly Speaker Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief Opposing Prop 8

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, February 28, 2013

In his friend-of-the-court brief known as an "amicus" brief, Speaker John Pérez argues voter-approved Proposition 8 prevents him from passing bills at the State Capitol.

"Proposition 8 clearly inhibits my legislative role, preventing me and my peers from moving forward legislation on marriage equality - although clearly, we would like to do so if we were allowed," he says.

Unlike other state constitutional amendments - which Pérez says simply set rules for how money can be spent - the speaker says Prop 8 deals with the fundamental right of marriage.

President Obama has also filed an amicus brief opposing Prop 8.

Oral arguments at the Supreme Court are scheduled for late March.  The justices could rule that same-sex marriage is legal or illegal throughout the country.  Alternatively, they could issue a more narrow ruling that deals solely with California based on the legal challenge to Prop 8.


Sequestration's Timing "Absolutely Horrible" for California

Meanwhile, Pérez says the automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration come at a terrible time for his state's fragile economy.

The speaker  rattled off a list of potential cuts to California, such as reductions to education and social programs, and furloughs or layoffs for tens of thousands of federal employees.  He says that could stall California's economic recovery.

"We've turned the corner.  We're building our way out of the worst recession in the history of the state and the worst recession in the history of the country.  This could not come at a worse time, and we're hopeful that Congress will work with the White House to avoid sequestration or any long-term impacts thereof," he says.

On Thursday, the Assembly passed a Democratic-supported resolution that calls on Congress to pass a "balanced" approach of spending reductions and tax increases to avoid the sequester cuts.  Republicans criticized the measure as political posturing.

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