The Attorney General of California, Jerry Brown, has called for Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the US state, to be deemed unconstitutional and stricken down, comparing it to racist legislation of the 1960s.

Writing in the Huffington Post, he said the ban was not dissimilar to a scenario in 1964, in which 65 percent of California voters approved Proposition 14, which would have legalised racial discrimination in the selling or renting of housing.

Both the California and U.S. Supreme Courts struck down this proposition, concluding that it amounted to an unconstitutional denial of rights.

Brown said: “As California’s Attorney General, I believe the Court should strike down Proposition 8 for remarkably similar reasons – because it unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and deprives them of the fundamental right to marry.”

He added that same sex marriage is an “inalienable right and cannot be taken away by a popular vote – whether it be 52 per cent, as was the case in Proposition 8, or 65 per cent as for Proposition 14.”

Tomorrow, the state’s Supreme Court will be sitting at a three-hour hearing in San Francisco to consider challenges to Proposition 8 in terms of whether a voting majority can overrule minority rights previously recognised by the court.

In November, the initiative was approved by voters and restored the state’s definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Six months prior to this, the court had declared that gays and lesbians had a constitutional right to marry.

Vigils organised by website Eve of Justice are expected to take place tonight in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Fresno and other California locations and also in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to protest against the proposition.