California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

Posted on 05/15/2008. Filed under: California, california supreme court, glbt rights, lgbt rights |

This is a historic day in GLBT History. Today the California Supreme Court ruled that the laws and statues banning gay marriage in California was unconstitutional. This has been a long awaited day and decision. The courts concurring and dissenting opinions are available here.

The 4-3 majority opinion was issued by Chief Justice Ronald George (appointed by Gov. Wilson (R)); Justices Joyce Kennard (Deukmejian (R)), Kathryn Werdegar (Wilson (R)), Carlos Moreno (Davis (D)) concurred. Justices Marvin Baxter (Deukmejian (R)) and Ming Chin (Wilson (R)) concurred in part and dissented in part (they dissented from the majority ruling overturning the California Court of Appeals decision upholding opposite-sex-only marriage statutes). Justice Carol Corrigan (Schwarzenegger (R)) concurred in part and dissented in part (she ruled that the voters should decide).

100% of the Democratic appointees ruled for us. 50% of the Republican appointees ruled for us, and 50% ruled against us. Thank you, Governor Gray Davis!

Here are a few of the highlights:

“…we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union “between a man and a woman” is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand.

Plaintiffs are entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandate directing the appropriate state officials to take all actions necessary to effectuate our ruling in this case so as to ensure that county clerks and other local officials throughout the state, in performing their duty to enforce the marriage statutes in their jurisdictions, apply those provisions in a manner consistent with the decision of this court. Further, as the prevailing parties, plaintiffs are entitled to their costs.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal is reversed, and the matter is remanded to that court for further action consistent with this opinion.”

This means that Gay Marriage is Legal in California!!!!

As I said this is a historic day for the GLBT Community in California and the world. I know the Republicans will talk about the “activist” judges but interpreting the laws and apply the constitution to the laws is what supreme court justices are supposed to do.

Does this mean the fight for Equal Rights for All Americans is over in California? NO! Californians still have to deal with the ballot initiative being submitted for a vote in the November election. This initiative would add a constitutional amendment to their state constitution to make Gay marriage illegal. Do I think it will pass in California? NO and even if it does the current Supreme Court would overturn it almost immediately. I am not even sure the Secretary of State will even follow through on verifying the signatures now that this ruling has been handed down from the courts. It would seem pointless to put an initiative on the ballot that has already in essence been declared unconstitutional. We will have to wait and watch closely.


Marriage Equality

As more and more states recognize GLBT Rights by allowing marriage and/or civil unions, America is slowly becoming a more progressive nation. There have been several states where their ballot initiatives have failed to get the signatures or laws proposed by bigots have been stopped. We still have to deal with the states that legalized discrimination such as our own Texas but we will. Public opinion is changing and Americans are sick of the hatred, bigotry, and divisive politics of the Republican party and the Right Wing Fanatics.

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