Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Supreme Court Upholds Gay Marraige Ban

The California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8, the voter-approved law restoring a ban on same-sex marriages in the state, but at the same time left intact the more than 18,000 marriages for gay and lesbian couples who wed last year before the ballot measure went into effect.

This creates an interesting connundrum in California. The Supreme Court has now established a two-tiered system of marriage across the state for same-sex couples. Under the ruling, Proposition 8 will continue to outlaw same-sex marriage in the future, but those gay and lesbian couples who got their marriage licenses before last November's election will remain on equal legal footing with heterosexual couples.

This looks like this issue is in no way over. Chief Justice Ronald George, who authored last year's ruling striking down the state's prior ban on gay marriage, wrote today's majority opinion upholding Prop 8, cautioning that the decision is not based on whether the measure "is wise or sound as a matter of policy,'' but instead "concerns the scope of the right of the people ... to change or alter the state Constitution itself.'' Stay tuned...

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