In a monumental victory for the gay rights movement, the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage Thursday in a ruling that would allow same-sex couples in the nation’s biggest state to tie the knot.
Domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage, the justices ruled 4-3 in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George.
With the ruling, California becomes the second state to allow same-sex couples to legally wed. Massachusetts adopted the practice in 2004, and couples don’t need to be state residents to wed there.
Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Connecticut permit civil unions, while California has a domestic-partner registration law. More than a dozen other states give gay couples some legal rights.
Seven other jurisdictions around the world have legalized same-sex marriage: Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.
The opinion (pdf).
Kevin Drum tells us…
…the initiative to strike down their ruling has already gathered over a million signatures and is just waiting for verification from the Secretary of State before it goes on the November ballot. It’s 14 words long, identical to the wording of Prop 22 back in 2000: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” This time, however, it’s a constitutional initiative, not a statutory initiative, so if it passes it will be immune to court challenges.
Prop 22 passed overwhelmingly with 63% of the vote. Has 13% of the state decided to relax since then and allow gay couples to live in peace? We’re about to find out.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says:
“I respect the Court’s decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling. 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.”