Andy Pugno, a co-author of Proposition 8 and general counsel at, is part of the legal team defending the same-sex marriage ban at the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday.

Pugno discussed with KQED’s Scott Shafer the major themes of the team’s legal argument, as well as what changing public opinion means for the case.

Even though prominent Republicans, Fortune 500 companies and the public are becoming more accepting of same-sex marriage, Pugno said he thinks it will not have much of an effect on the justices.

“I think the justices are accustomed to avoiding being sucked into a political debate,” Pugno said. “I think they’ll be mindful of their limited role as judges to interpret existing law, not to make new law.”

Indeed, it appears that one of the pro-Prop. 8 team’s core arguments is that the proposition passed into law through a valid democratic process and that any judge’s attempt to invalidate it would be akin to judicial activism, Pugno said.

There is also the issue of states’ rights:

“It really would be unfortunate to have same-sex marriage imposed — marriage redefined — for all 50 states by the intervention of the federal courts,” Pugno said.

“If the Supreme Court decides there is a hidden, invisible right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution, that would spell the end for Proposition 8 in California.”

This interview and more coverage aired on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California” Friday, March 22, at 7:30 p.m.

Watch an interview here with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom who, for one month, oversaw the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in San Francisco in 2004.

Prop. 8 Co-Author: Striking Down Prop. 8 Would Be Judicial Activism 28 April,2014Rachael Bale

  • gesoflip

    How is this guy a co-author of Prop 8, and he doesn’t even understand one of the most fundamental legal systems in America?

    This is going to be so hiarlious to watch.

  • Breezeyguy

    The courts have been destroying marriage for years. I doubt they’ll try to finish it off this time, but will wait for an immoral electorate to do that.

    • “They’re immoral because they don’t agree with me!”

      • historyguru

        No Garrett, because you are a moron. Get a brain and a little history education.

        • Where’smyFreedomGone?

          You forgot to mention that he is a bigot and intolerant – typical of the “I’m going to force everyone to accept my sins so I can feel better about them” mentality.

  • AB

    I do not trust in the Supreme Court, for they had failed times and times again over defining issues. Our president Obama has emboldened the homosexual cause. The press, as always, especially NPR, has taken the pro-homosexual’s side. I support the prop8 effort in prayers and in deeds. Be of good courage! This is the time of Noah. This is more than merely flesh and blood. Every generation has its own challenges. God is on his throne and we all will have to answer to Him.

    • If God actually flooded the earth because of gay marriage and not because of all the wars, the world wide poverty, the ethnic wars, etc., then God is an awful being who shouldn’t get an iota of respect.

  • freemarket

    this is a foolish and insane idea to call a male on male friends as a marriage. This makes no sense except to get people to give them a label to make their idea of sex “legitimate”.
    they can’t win their view approved by voters , in fact it has been disapproved in CA. So they label those opposed to their wacky idea as bigots. We don’t like their sex acts so we are bigots against their person. That is rediculous. The fact is that we have to approve their sex acts. We used to make their acts against the law. We took those laws off. Now they want to get civic approval that they are married to each other. They are not married no matter what the courts say. It is a mockery of traditional marriage. Men would love to have all they want but without women. They want sex but without women. They want kids but without women. They want kids but refuse to have mothers available.

    The courts will be rated as fools for decades if they go down the road of redifining civil right to marriage. There is a civil right to marriage as defined by male and female union. There is no right to redefine marriage as that between anyone…..especially not two of the same gender. You have friends, you have sex, you can call it love as friends often love each other, as relatives love each other. but you do not have a marriage, without two sexes.

  • Yes, traditional marriage is for children. That’s why the elderly, the infertile, and those straight couples who don’t want kids aren’t allowed to get married. Oh wait, no they can.

    Oh, no, it angers God. That’s why we’re a nation that only values Christian morals. Oh wait, no we aren’t.

    Marriage is a holy union! Oh wait, no. In the eyes of the government it’s a business contract between two people to negotiate taxes, divorce, property, inheritance, etc. That’s the purpose of marriage to government.

    Gays getting married hurts no one. At all. I got married to my husband and nothing happened to any of you. Canada is still there. So are the nine states that have it. Nothing terrible happened. Lord almighty…

  • Concerned

    Marriage and traditional family have been under fire from many sources and for many years. The traditional family has been a key strength of our country since its inception but has been affronted by poor fidelity, irresponsibilty and selfishness. We will see America’s glory and goodness fade if we continue down a path that further errodes ou basic family unit. By nature and definiton marriage is between a man and woman. If government’s ellected officials so choose, provide the legal rights of power of attorney, tax incentives, etc, but, do so under a civil partnership which is what the government has the right to grant. Marriage is not a government definition, but a natural one.


Rachael Bale

Rachael Bale is researcher and reporter for The Center for Investigative Reporting and occasional contributor to KQED News and The California Report. A California native, she has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Reed College and a master’s degree in journalism from American University.

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