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Prop 8 Debate Heats Up Again After President Asks Court To Overturn The Ban

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WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — The debate over Proposition 8 heated up again Thursday after President Barack Obama asked the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The White House filed a formal brief with the Court in an effort to return gay marriage to the state.

Serene Branson, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, went to West Hollywood to get reaction from both sides.

The community of West Hollywood — with a large gay population — has been at the center of the fight against Prop 8. Activists there are applauding the president’s move.

Supporters of Prop 8, of course, are saying the Federal government has no right to meddle in something that they say the states should decide.

“I think this is the civil rights movement of our time,” said Alan Acosta of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.

Acosta says public opinion has shifted since Californians passed Prop 8 five years ago — 52 percent to 48 percent.

A poll published today finds a 61 percent sample of registered voters now favor same-sex marriage, 32 percent disapprove and the rest had no opinion.

“We’re well beyond a tipping point now,” said Acosta. “We have many prominent republicans, we have the president of the United States, we have many people in Congress. It’s going to happen quickly … and a lot more quickly than people first thought.”

Branson says politicians on both sides of the aisle are clearly listening to the public.

Many prominent republicans have signed a Friend of the Court brief in favor of the president’s request — including Meg Whitman who supported Prop 8 when she ran for Governor. Clint Eastwood, who spoke at the RNC this summer, also signed on.

But some supporters stand by their original stance.

“States should be able to define marriage as they see fit,” says Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute.  “The right thing to do, the Constitutional thing to do, is for the United States government and this administration to respect the will of ‘we the people’ to decide for ourselves at the ballot box.”

Right now, nine states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage. Twenty-nine other states have existing bans. A Federal ruling could have national history-making consequences.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on same-sex marriage in late March.

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