California Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

By Christine Cupaiuolo — May 26, 2009

California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage, by a vote of  6-1. Lawyers on both sides expected this decision. San Francisco Chronicle staffers are tweeting from outside the California Supreme Court building, where advocates on both sides of the issue have gathered.

As to the question of the legitimacy of the roughly 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before the passage of Proposition 8, those marriages will remain valid under state law.

In May 2008, the same court legalized same-sex marriage. The law took effect in June and remained valid up through Election Day, when voters approved Proposition 8 by a margin of 52-48.

“The author of last year’s 4-3 decision, Chief Justice Ronald George, said today that the voters were within their rights to approve a constitutional amendment redefining marriage to include only male-female couples,” writes Bob Egelko at the San Francisco Chronicle. “Justice Carlos Moreno, in a lone dissent, said a majority should not be allowed to deprive a minority of fundamental rights by passing an initiative.”

Meanwhile, the momentum to legalize same-sex marriage has taken root in other parts of the country, namely in the northeast. A court decision in Connecticut legalized same-sex marriage shortly before Election Day; Iowa, Maine and Vermont legalized same-sex marriage this year.

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