SAN FRANCISCO

Proposition 8, California Gay Marriage Ban, Faces Next Legal Hurdle Before State Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California's highest court seems inclined to side with backers of the state's same-sex marriage ban in thinking that the state Constitution gives ballot initiative proponents legal authority to defend their measures in court.

The California Supreme Court heard more than an hour of arguments Tuesday on that question, which could prove pivotal to the future of the voter-approved ban, known as Proposition 8.

Several justices noted that the court has never refused to allow the sponsors of ballot questions to appear before it when measures were challenged.

The Supreme Court is considering the matter at the request of a federal appeals court that is weighing whether the ban violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples.