Closing arguments in the lawsuit against California's same-sex marriage ban are being heard Wednesday.
Proponents of Proposition 8 say the decision made by California voters in 2008 to uphold traditional marriage should be respected and upheld.
"More than 7 million Californians decided that marriage should be preserved, not fundamentally changed," said Brian Raum, senior counsel at Alliance Defense Fund. "If a handful of activists is allowed to void a constitutional amendment protecting marriage, we have gutted the core of the American democratic system and will deny more children the mom and the dad they deserve."
The federal trial, which began in January, is the first to determine whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right and, in effect, whether the passing of Proposition 8 violates that right. Two same-sex couples, represented by attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies, filed suit in federal court last May.
"This case is as much about whether our government is of, by, and for the people as it is about marriage," said Raum in a statement. "Just imagine how our country would change if every state constitutional amendment could be eliminated by small groups of wealthy activists. It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of elitists."
ADF attorneys, who intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponents and campaign committee of Proposition 8, argue that overturning Prop 8 would bring additional years of chaos and confusion in the legal battle to preserve marriage.
"It could impact marriage laws in up to 45 other states – including the 30 states where voters overwhelmingly adopted state constitutional amendments," they contend.
Proponents of the amendment also want the state to stop recognizing the 18,000 gay and lesbian marriages that took place when it was legal. Proposition 8 was passed by 52 percent of voters in November 2008, months after gay marriage was legalized by the California Supreme Court. The same court ruled to uphold Proposition 8 the following year but kept the same-sex unions intact.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker is presiding over the marriage trial in San Francisco.