California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

The California Supreme Court has overturned a law banning same-sex marriages. It is a seismic decision that is likely to add the issue to the presidential campaigns and trigger additional state constitutional amendments — and perhaps a federal constitutional amendment. The opinion is below.

The law in question was a1977 statute defining marriage as between a man and a woman. In 2000, Californians reaffirmed the law, though this was a symbolic resolution.

The California courts stopped San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom from continuing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004. However, that was due to the lack of his authority. The court reserved the question addressed today: the constitutionality of the underlying law.

There is already a move to amend the California constitution, which is likely to be accelerated by this decision. However, as a decision based on state law, the U.S. Supreme Court should defer to the highest state court on the question.

The decision was written by Chief Justice George with concurrences from Justices Kennard, Werdegar, and Moreno.

The Court concludes:

In the present case, it is readily apparent that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples clearly is more consistent with the probable legislative intent than withholding that designation from both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples in favor of some other, uniform designation. In view of the lengthy history of the use of the term “marriage” to describe the family relationship here at issue, and the importance that both the supporters of the 1977 amendment to the marriage statutes and the electors who voted in favor of Proposition 22 unquestionably attached to the designation of marriage, there can be no doubt that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples, rather than denying it to all couples, is the equal protection remedy that is most consistent with our state’s general legislative policy and preference.

Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, 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 In the present case, it is readily apparent that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples clearly is more consistent with the probable legislative intent than withholding that designation from both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples in favor of some other, uniform designation. In view of the lengthy history of the use of the term “marriage” to describe the family
relationship here at issue, and the importance that both the supporters of the 1977 amendment to the marriage statutes and the electors who voted in favor of Proposition 22 unquestionably attached to the designation of marriage, there can be no doubt that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples, rather than denying it to all couples, is the equal protection remedy that is most consistent with our state’s general legislative policy and preference.
Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, 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.

Personally, I have long preferred to get rid of the term “marriage” in favor of a single civil union standard, click here.

For a copy of the opinion, click here

68 thoughts on “California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban”

  1. No man or woman has the power or authority to pass judgment on God. No homosexual will be able to nullify what God has declared to be an abomination. No amount of squirming, jumbling, and blurring of the scriptures, and no matter how many morally corrupt judges are condoning your perversion and ruling in your favor. Even if the whole wide world would be in agreement with you, no way in all creation you would be able to justify your homosexuality, because God, who is Omnipotent, Unsearchable, Self- sufficient, All-knowing and the Creator, Master, Ruler and Judge of the Universe, is judging you.

    You are only a sinful, frail, weak, mortal, finite and powerless human being, having only the God given authority to choose between life and death. God is commanding you to repent and turn away from your sins. Jesus knows the thoughts of man, and he knows that they are futile that is why Jesus in his infinite mercy has appointed heaven and earth as witnesses against you and he has set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now humble yourself to God and choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him, for the LORD is your life. Choose life, not death.

  2. hnrast,

    I am not asking an opinion from a homosexual. I am asking an opinion from you. So, is AIDS a disease in heterosexuals and a punishment in homosexuals, or is it a punishment in both cases? Should God kill everyone who has AIDS? What group should I be hoping that God will kill? Sould I hope he goes after everyone? God is love so who should he kill to best show His love?

  3. So should I root for God to kill heterosexuals via the AIDS virus or not? God is love, so who will he kill? Help me out here.

  4. It does not matter one iota what homosexuals believe, what is really important and what really matter is what God has to say about homosexuals. The Creator and the Ruler of the universe has declared that those who engage in same sex fornication are committing an abomination unto God, suffering their due punishment.

  5. hnrast,

    “God gave them over to shameful lusts even their women…”, So homosexual men are not homosexual, they are heterosexual? This is confusing. Who should I be rooting for God to kill?

  6. hnrast,

    I agree with you. God is love.

    Why isn’t he killing all the heterosexuals with AIDS? I hope he destroys all the women, men and children who have AIDS, especially the babies born with it. That will show God’s true power on earth. If God doesn’t kill those heterosexual babies very soon I will start to doubt his existence.

  7. puzzling:

    “First of all, I am only stating facts that the homosexual mind cannot comprehend…”
    *******************
    You see hnrast can deduce and understand God’s will, something no homosexual has the mental capacity to do. Isn’t it wonderful that Chritianity saves you, and makes you the smartest person in any room–save god himself? I hear it also makes you run faster and jump higher than your fellows. The arrogance of this crowd knows no bounds.

  8. puzzling:

    Well when you start with a stupid premise, you usually get a stupid conclusion. So the answer is “no” under Fallwell’s crazy syllogism to question one, and “yes” yo question two.

  9. “AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals; it is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals.” – Jerry Falwell

    If God punishes individuals as you say, and presumably punishes them correctly so they receive their “due penalty”, it is right for doctors and scientists to work on AIDS treatments that might pardon these individuals from their punishment? Or does that interfere with God’s will?

  10. First of all, I am only stating facts that the homosexual mind cannot comprehend, because their perverted behavior derives from God who gave them over to the sinful desires of their heart to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with other men, since they have exchanged the truth of God for a lie.

    God gave them over to shameful lusts even their women are exchanging natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and are inflamed with lust for one another, homosexuals are committing indecent acts with other men, and they are spreading and receiving AIDS, which is their due penalty for their perversion.

  11. Hnrast,

    Homosexuality and pedophilia are not the same, despite what Baldwin writes in Pat Robertson’s Regent Law Review.

    A majority of pedophiles who molest children have successful relationships with adult females. Some exceptions to that include a few thousand Catholic priests who are working hard to spread the word of God, just as you are.

    Perhaps we could model society after the Boy Scouts of America? All gay men are banished, leaving only heterosexual pedophiles to molest boys miles from civilization.

    You are arguing that homosexuals present a danger to society, and an even greater danger to youth. Imagine for a moment that the rule for who could “adopt, coach, teach, or have contact with children” was based on which groups presented the lowest risk for child molestation. Wouldn’t that rule all men out from these activities, as they represent somewhere between 96 and 99% of all molesters?

  12. Proposition 22, which defined marriage to be between a man and a woman and adopted by California voters on March 7, 2000 with 61.4% in favor, was hijacked along with the California Legislative Branch by the Tyrannical Justices of the California Supreme Court which legislated from the bench in direct violation of the California Constitution and managed to null the will of the people and declare Proposition 22 unconstitutional. It only took four tyrannical traitors to wrest the will of the citizen of California, these four judges are either being bribed, or blackmailed by the degenerates or they are homosexuals themselves.

    Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Ronald M. George said: “In light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, 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.”

    The black robed tyrants had the audacity and the recklessness to stick their tongues to the majority of California voters and without an ounce of shame declared that a marriage between a man and a woman is unconstitutional, but marriage between a man and a woman becomes constitutional when coupled with same-sex couples, what a bunch of crap, these judges must believe that the California populace are nothing more than a bunch of moronic retards.

    The people of California must demand the heads of these tyrants, they should be unceremoniously thrown out of the California Supreme Court and they should be forced to sweep the street of San Francisco for the rest of their wretched lives.

    If unrestrained, someday in the near future these dishonorable black robed tyrants will grant the salivating perverts in a silver platter the age of consent lowered to eight years of age. Eureka, now the degenerates will be free to marry innocent little boys, which would be the pinnacle of all perversions, and also would open the doors to all kinds of unimaginable atrocities. How would you react Mom, Dad when someday Johnny, your little nine years old says to you? Good old Fred our next-door neighbor and I are getting married. It will happen very soon, check it out at http://www.nambla.org the North American Man/Boy Love Association.

    Americans must reintroduce the Word of God in Public Education, also they must reverse legalized “premeditated murder” on demand, and they must agree with God with one mind and write it into the law of the land that homosexuality is an abomination and by overthrowing Executive Order 13087 signed by President Clinton, who with Bible in hand bypassed the U.S. Congress and the populace and inflicted on society one of the many things God abhors the most, cramming homosexuals, bisexuals, and the transgendered in the federal and civilian workforce, in an attempt to normalize what once was cosidered an immoral and filthy addiction. Homosexuals must also be prevented from corrupting the minds of the youth, therefore they must be prohibited to adopt, coach, teach or have any direct contact with children, and they must be redirected back to the closets they came from, where most appropriately belong.

  13. Unlike Massachusetts, California is allowing out of state same-gender couples to marry. How will these marriages be viewed in a state with a constitutional definition of marriage as one man and one woman? Will the newly married couples have a legal avenue to demand the state recognize their marriage?

  14. I don’t see this issue being resolved Judicially, Legislatively or Constitutionally. It displays the same pathology as the failure of Roe v. Wade to resolve the abortion issue. As long as we have a sizable religious population that insists that their interpretation of the “Will of God” must be the law of the land, then all the political/religious demagogues will continue to exploit prejudice and fear.

    The end of these harmful battles can only come about if we as a society begin to understand and support the separation of church and state. Most people would agree that adults should not be allowed to interact sexually with children. However, how we define the ages of consent and the various permutations and possibilities (is it statutory rape if a 16 year old girl and 14 year old boy voluntarily have sex?) requires clear thinking and sober judgment. This type of rational decision making cannot take place in an atmosphere tinged with religious belief and moral judgments.

    That people who are homosexual should have the right to have the benefits (and problems)of marriage seems obvious in my opinion. Just as obvious to me is that a woman should have the sole right to determine if she wants to terminate a pregnancy. The murkiness that impedes defining peoples rights begins to enter where instances like the action in Texas regarding the abuse taking place in Mr. Jeff’s cult occur.

    On one hand I believe people should have the freedom to choose any non-exploitive relationship they may conceive, on the other I find the abuse and exploitation in Texas to be an abomination. The only way that I see to get to the point of providing liberty to the people is by getting religion and pious morality out of the discussion.

  15. binx101:

    I could swear I heard the sonorous voice of Paul Potts singing the last lines from Nessun Dorma as I read the opinion. Vincero’, indeed.

  16. I have read most of the opinion and find it thoughtful and well-reasoned. It is a defensive opinion in my view since it seeks to limit its scope to the precise issue before the Court which is of course the constitutional validity of the legislation, and it is written comprehensively to attempt to insulate it from attack by the right-wing theocrats who will undoubtedly denounce it as just another “crazy” California opinion–oblivious to California’s role as a leading jurisdiction in so many aspects of civil law.I do however agree with one particular line that seems to summarize the jurisprudence involved, and that deals a decisive blow to those who would present historical context as armor for blatant unconstitutionality.

    Chief Justice C.J. George writes:

    “60 years ago in Perez v.Sharp (1948) 32 Cal.2d 7114 — which found that California’s statutory provisions prohibiting interracial marriages were inconsistent with the fundamental constitutional right to marry, notwithstanding the circumstance that statutory prohibitions on interracial marriage had existed since the founding of the state — makes clear that history alone is not invariably an appropriate guide for determining the meaning and scope of this fundamental constitutional guarantee.”

    I suppose that somewhere Mildred Loving (Loving v. Virginia) is smiling, as she was vindicated once again (this time on the other side of the continent) and her prescient sentiments so eloquently expressed last year bear repeating:

    “I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

  17. It would seem that the other possibility is elevating this conversation to a place where it isn’t controlled any longer by Pastors of franchised churches or PACs posing as Religious groups should be most helpful. This is a difficult issue because even after the cartoon characters (on both sides of the argument) take their seat and shut up, there are very good Americans that have to struggle with their own evolution (pardon the expression) and that of society. It is in no way a slam dunk.

    I also think you sell Obama short. He hasn’t disappointed me to speak of- possibly the only time was not impressed- was his letting Samantha Powers get pushed out – and that’s it. Other than that, I think he’s handled adversity with the great skill. In fact – truly – McCain and Hillary – both look like Junior High School toughs next to him. (Okay sorry for campaign ad)

    I think though, while it may be challenging – reasoned discourse and a renewed venue will help detoxify the public on this very challenging issue that Americans have to discuss.

  18. “…and trigger additional state constitutional amendments — and perhaps a federal constitutional amendment.

    Isn’t it possible this decision could aid in forestalling such ridiculous right wing amnedments? I don’t agree that this would help those opposed to equal treatment under the law. I don’t think there are quite enough neanderthals in the two houses to get such an un-Constitutional bill through. Also, wouldn’t the signature of the sitting President be required? I don’t see President Obama signing such. I’m not so sure even John McBush would sign it.

  19. Anyone ever read NY Chief Judge Kaye’s dissenting opinion on this matter?

    The case was ‘Hernandez v Robles’ (7 NY3d 338, July 6, 2006)

    Chief Judge Kaye (dissenting)

    http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2006/2006_05239.htm

    Just as Rehnquist’s dissent in Texas v. Johnson made me laugh, J Kaye’s dissent was truly humbling; since it reminded me that inductive argumentation can be just as powerful as the deductive variety.

    It’s a Kantian analysis of the Ninth Amendment thing–long story.

    Another time.

    Regards,

    Bob

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