SJ City Council Enters Gay Marriage Debate

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    Same-sex couple could have a chance to marry in Illinois if the legislature takes advantage of popular sentiment and a Democratic super majority to pass it.

    The San Jose City Council Tuesday voted to consider joining San  Francisco in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that state ballot measure  Proposition 8 banning gay marriage is unconstitutional, a spokeswoman said.

    The council agreed to poll members at its Feb. 12 meeting on  whether San Jose should lend its name to San Francisco's friend-of-the-court  brief to be argued at a Supreme Court hearing in March, said Michelle McGurk,  spokeswoman for Mayor Chuck Reed.

    The plea came in a memorandum sent Friday to the council from  members Ash Kalra, Xavier Campos, Kansen Chu and Don Rocha, who said that  banning marriages by gay and lesbian couples violates their civil rights  under the U.S. constitution.

      "It goes without saying that these are landmark civil rights  issues for both local and national concern," the members said.

    "The City of San Jose must not be silent when it comes to these  fundamental issues of equal rights," they said.  

    The members want the city to sign onto San Francisco's amicus  brief arguing that the high court should strike down as unconstitutional  California's Proposition 8 that prohibits same-sex marriages.

    A majority of California voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008 and  its ban on gay marriages became part of the state constitution.

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in February 2012 that  Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has agreed to review  that verdict in Washington, D.C. on March 26, Kalra said in a prepared  statement.

    San Francisco, a leader in the cause for marriage equality, will  present its legal arguments against the proposition before the court that  day, Kalra said.

    The four members said that San Francisco has given the city a  deadline of Feb. 14 to decide to sign the amicus brief, so the council must  act by its Feb. 12 meeting.

    Joining San Francisco's Supreme Court brief, which itself must be  filed by Feb. 28, would save San Jose the expense of drawing up its own  brief, they said.

    The vote to consider linking the city to San Francisco's brief was  10-0 with council member Rose Herrera absent, McGurk said.