California Supreme Court Creates Marriage Double Standard
California’s high court upheld the ban on gay marriage put forth in Proposition 8, but is allowing same-sex couples already married to maintain those marriages legally. Looks like it’s now back to the voters.
Gay rights advocates, disappointed with the ruling, said their next step would be to “take it back to the voters,” said Jennifer Pizer, director of the marriage equality project for Lambda Legal.
Lambda has already launched an educational campaign, Marriage Watch California, that will specifically target the communities of color and diverse church groups, which overwhelmingly supported Proposition 8.
The court was split 6-1 on Proposition 8, but the vote to allow the 18,000 same-sex couples to remain married was unanimous.
In an opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the state high court ruled today that the November initiative was not an illegal constitutional revision, as gay rights lawyers contended, nor unconstitutional because it took away an inalienable right, as Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown argued.
Only Justice Carlos R. Moreno, the court’s sole Democrat, wanted Proposition 8 struck down as an illegal constitutional revision.
However, in May 2008, Chief Justice George sent a different signal when he wrote the majority opinion striking down the ban on same-sex marriage.
The majority opinion, by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, declared that any law that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation will from this point on be constitutionally suspect in California in the same way as laws that discriminate by race or gender, making the state’s high court the first in the nation to adopt such a stringent standard.
So now there is a legal mess in California. Gays can’t get married. But some who already are married can stay married. While other states continue to strike down this kind of discrimination, California will have to wait for another day at the ballot box, and probably more court decisions.Click here for reuse options!
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