California Supreme Court legalizes marriage

Conservatives rally to issue stay, amendment initiative

by QNotes Staff  Staff Reports  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: May 31, 2008 in News

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The Supreme Court of California ruled 4-3 May 15 in favor of legalizing marriage for same-sex couples and knocked down the state’s ban on gay marriage. The court also ruled that domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for the extension of full marriage rights.

The case was brought by the City of San Francisco, two dozen gay and lesbian couples and Equality California.

“I respect the Court’s decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling,” California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said after the publication of the decision. “Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the Constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.”

“This is a historic day for the state of California, and a long-awaited day for the plaintiffs in this case and their families,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “The California Supreme Court has made clear that same-sex couples in committed relationships and their families deserve the same level of respect afforded to opposite-sex couples. The court did its job by ensuring that the state constitution provides the same rights and protections for everyone. This is a decision that strengthens California families.”

It is expected that conservative groups will be successful in their attempts to place an anti-family marriage amendment on the state’s November ballot. The groups are also pushing the Court to issue a stay on its ruling until voters head to the polls for the ballot initiative.

The full opinion as issued by the Court is available online at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S147999.DOC

Be sure to pick up the June 14 issue of Q-Notes for an in-depth look at how this marriage ruling will impact the Carolinas LGBT communities and marriage movement.

From the opinion, written by Chief Justice Ron George:

In light of all of these circumstances, we conclude that retention of the traditional definition of marriage does not constitute a state interest sufficiently compelling, under the strict scrutiny equal protection standard, to justify withholding that status from same-sex couples. Accordingly, insofar as the provisions of sections 300 and 308.5 draw a distinction between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples and exclude the latter from access to the designation of marriage, we conclude these statutes are unconstitutional.
(Pages 118-119)