SAN FRANCISCO â€“ As thousands demonstrated outside, California Supreme Court justices weighed Thursday whether voters' decision to ban same-sex marriage was a denial of fundamental rights or within what one justice called the people's "very broad powers" to amend the state constitution.
Gay rights advocates are urging the court to overturn the ban, approved in November as Proposition 8, on the grounds it was put before voters improperly, or at least prematurely. Under state law, the Legislature must approve significant constitutional changes before they can go on the ballot.
Proposition 8's sponsors, represented by Pepperdine law school dean and former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, said it would be a miscarriage of justice for the court to overturn the results of a fair election.
The ballot initiative, which passed with 52 percent of the vote, changed the California Constitution to...