California Supreme Court Declares State Marriage Laws Unconstitutional

The California Supreme Court today declared the state’s marriage laws unconstitutional. In a 4-3 decision, the Court said that the state’s domestic partnership law was not an adequate substitute for marriage, paving the way for same-sex marriages to be lawfully conducted in the state.

The lawsuit stemmed from the same-sex weddings conducted in San Francisco in 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom instructed the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. When the California Supreme Court halted the marriages a month later, a cohort of married couples, along with the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups, sued to challenge the 1977 California constitutional amendment that had declared same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Though he has vetoed two previous attempts by the California state legislature to legalize gay marriage — once claiming that the courts needed to speak on the issue before it could be decided — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he will not contest this ruling. "I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling," the governor said.

Approximately 100,000 gay couples live in California, and about a quarter of them have children, reports the LA Times.

Much more at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, at the LA Times and at the Sacramento Bee.

The California Supreme Court’s decision:

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  • invalid-0

    I agree that the government should refuse to affirm gay marriage (along
    with heterosexual arrangements like polygamy and communal families) but
    this does not mean telling gays to get back in the closet. There is a
    difference between TOLERATING gays (which I favor) and AFFIRMING gay
    marriage (which I oppose).

    As a juror, for example, I would refuse to enforce any remaining
    anti-sodomy laws against consenting adults because what two (or more)
    consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home is none of the
    government’s (!*&)(@#* business.

  • harry834

    straight marriage?

    If so, why exclude gays? That was the question the court tackled, and there was no good reason found for the exclusion.

    On the other hand, If you believe the government should affirm NO marriage, gay or straight, we avoid this issue altogether. Some libertarians like that. I’m not sure about that, but what I am sure is that if the government affirms straight marriage, but not gay marriage, it needs to give a reason why for the exclusion.

    It couldn’t. So the court ruled as it did.

  • harry834

    the conservative forum, Free Republic, revoked my posting priveldges after I voiced my disagreement with their detestment of the CA decision. It’s their blog and their right, so no violation. But I’d thought I’d throw that out there.

  • scott-swenson


    As you know this is typical of the conservative movement. The American values they claim to fight for apparently don’t include free speech. I’ve had countless comments on conservative sites either deleted or never posted by moderators. Thanks for being such an active part of this online community.

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • harry834

    constitutionally they’d be cool, because its a private site. The same could be said for the firing of Don Imus, where a private company made the decision to fire him (upon wide customer complaints) and the government never stepped in.

    The firing of Don Imus and the revoking of yours truly are acts done by a private entity – perfectly protected constitution-wise,

    though, it doesn’t exclude us from critiquing the actions done. Surely the meaning of free speech goes beyond consitutional definitions. No one was violated, but we can still question the revokations.

    This might be the only thing me and Don Imus have in common. LOL

  • harry834

    Thank you Scott for your wonderful praise. I love all the staff writers here on RH


  • invalid-0

    is my opinion on the matter. I’ve heard all the arguments against gay marriage and I’ve noticed two things:
    1) anti gay marriage arguments sound very similar to anti mixed race marriage
    2) none of them hold water

    Not ONE anti gay marriage proponant can come up with at least ONE reason marriage equality threatens traditional marriage.

  • invalid-0

    Zero tolerance for bigots who do not believe that a gay couple’s property rights or end-of-life decision making powers are as “important” as a straight couple’s.

  • invalid-0

    Usually I don’t have pride in my country, state, city, etc. I just happened to be born here. While I’m not proud over something I can’t control, I am proud of the California Supreme Court and I feel so lucky to live here.

  • invalid-0

    Wisconsin would follow California’s lead. Not only has Cali taken our former crown as biggest milk producer, but also the title as Most Progressive State!

  • janine

    We briefly had marriage equality in the county I live in a couple years back, but it was overturned. Now, several years later, we finally have ‘domestic partnerships’ statewide. No
    one has been able to demonstrate how the original same sex marriage
    licenses issued in our county ever theatened traditional marriage.


    Where’s your profile ruthless?

  • invalid-0

    so I don’t have a profile here. I am on as Pan Zareta though.