SAN FRANCISCO – California's Supreme Court has confirmed that it will hear oral arguments next month in lawsuits seeking to annul last year's referendum that banned same-sex marriage.
Court officials confirmed the much-anticipated cases would be heard in San Francisco on March 5. The court must issue its ruling within 90 days of the oral arguments.
In a result that has provoked nationwide protest by gay rights activists, Californians approved a proposal in November 4 polls which amended the state constitution to recognize only marriages between men and women.
The passage of the measure -- known as Proposition 8 -- triggered lawsuits from activists, right groups and city officials.
Critics have argued that Proposition 8 represented a sweeping revision of the constitution and was more far-reaching than a simple amendment.
Challenges have been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal while San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Clara have sued in a joint bid.
The November 4 vote came only six months after California's Supreme Court overturned a previous ban on same-sex marriage, paving the way for thousands of gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot in the state.
However, opponents of same-sex marriage successfully gathered enough support for an amendment to be added to the election ballot which sought to override the California Supreme Court decision.
© 2009 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.