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Calif. Labor Unions Unite to Fight Prop 8

More than 50 labor organizations, including United Healthcare Workers and the California Labor Federation, filed an amicus brief in lawsuits to overturn ban on same-sex marriage

OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of more than 50 California labor organizations, including United Healthcare Workers (UHW) and the California Labor Federation, filed an amicus brief on Tuesday in support of the three lawsuits now challenging Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that added a same-sex marriage ban to the California state constitution. The labor organizations represent more than two million working men and women in California.

"There are fundamental constitutional rights that cannot be abolished by ballot initiative," said Sal Rosselli, President of UHW. "Our organizations stand for fairness and equality for working people -- not only in the workplace but in all aspects of society. Today we are standing up for all California families in asking the court to overturn Prop 8."

The California state constitution can be changed in two ways. Regular amendments can be made through ballot propositions, but fundamental changes must be made through a process called "revision," which requires approval by two-thirds of each state house, followed by a majority vote. The amicus brief provides two arguments that the change proposed in Proposition 8 is a fundamental change that cannot be made by a simple majority vote.

First, it argues that Proposition 8 would take away a fundamental right. Second, it argues that Proposition 8 would divide citizens into "suspect classifications," meaning it imposes different treatment on groups that are likely the subject of discrimination.

In a press conference on Tuesday, labor leaders also mentioned the impact of Proposition 8 in the workplace, citing pensions and family leave as examples of employment benefits that can be unfairly denied when employees' marriages are not recognized under the law.

With more than 150,000 members, SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West is the fastest-growing healthcare union in the United States. We represent healthcare workers in all job classifications and all healthcare settings, including hospitals, homecare, nursing homes and clinics. Our mission is to achieve high-quality healthcare for all.

    CONTACT Sadie Crabtree

SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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