By BRIAN MELLEY
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawyer for the state of California defended the constitutionality of the nation’s first law requiring women on corporate boards as necessary to reverse a culture of discrimination that favors men. In opening statements Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, a deputy attorney general said the state had a compelling interest to pass the law. A conservative legal group sued the state claiming the law violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution by mandating a gender-based quota. The law requires companies headquartered in California to have up to three women board members by January.