Calif. Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban

May 15, 2008 5:20:55 PM PDT
The California Supreme Court has issued a historic ruling overturning the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

The stunning 4 to 3 decision paves the path for California to now become only the second state to allow same-sex marriages.

The decision was 121 pages long. Those who are against gay marriage say they were not only disappointed, but they were surprised by the decision. There was a lot of cheering and happiness on the steps of the courthouse for those hoping for the right to get married.

The State Supreme Court made history Thursday in overturning the voter approved ban on gay marriages. The court ruled that domestic partnership is not enough in a 4-3 decision. This case has taken four years to get to this point. The majority wrote that the right to marry can not be eliminated by the legislature or the electorate.

California Supreme Court Justice Ron George of the majority wrote: "These core substantive rights include, most fundamentally, the opportunity of an individual to establish - with the person with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life - an officially recognized and protected family possessing mutual rights and responsibilities and entitled to the same respect and dignity according to the union traditionally designated as marriage."

Justice Marvin Baxter California Supreme Court of the dissenting opinion stated: "If such profound change in this ancient social institution is to occur the people and their representatives who represent the public conscience, should have the right, and the responsibility to control the pace of that change through the democratic process. The majority's decision erroneously usurps it."

"Given that this is dominantly Republican court, what this ruling signals is that this is a main stream ruling. Standing up for principles of opportunity, fairness the right to marry the person you love - I mean that is so fundamental, that is so basic," said Kate Kendell, plaintiff's attorney.

"Its in the statutes, Proposition 22, the voter initiated statute put that beyond the realm of the legislature. So for the court to redefine marriage means that it had to legislate from the bench - that is not the proper role of the court," said Glen Lavy, Alliance Defense Fund.

The attorneys who fought against the right for same-sex marriage are hoping to get this issue on the November ballot. If this happens, whatever the voters say will trump the court decision or anything from the legislature.

A lot of people have been asking about the validity of the marriages performed in 2004. The state supreme court ruled those marriages invalid in in 2004, stating the city acted unlawfully. The new ruling makes no provision for a retroactive reinstatement of those marriages. Therfore those who married before will need to marry again. This is from the city attorney's office.

Read the complete ruling here

Court documents filed in the California marriage case

Massachusetts' gay marriage decision (Goodridge v. Mass. Department of Public Health -- Nov. 18, 2003).

Same-sex marriage legislation in the United States by state (map)

Same-Sex Marriage: Developments in the Law

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders: Marriage Equality


Load Comments