Sunday, August 3, 2008

Gay Marriage in California

On May 15th, 2008, the California Supreme court issued a ruling effectively legalizing Same-sex marriage in California. Upon initial reading, the 120+ page decision appears to rely principally on California state law, and the California state constitution.

In the case titled In re MARRIAGE CASES, the California Supreme Court concludes that 1) marriage is a fundamental right protected by the state constitution (p. 5), and 2) that marriage is so important it should not be denied to any loving couple (p. 120).

Although many have decried the decision of the Court as the work of a liberal activist court, even a casual reading of the decision uncovers the history of legislative action which granted same-sex couples virtually all the rights of married opposite-sex couples. Given the actions of the legislature, the Court could find no compelling state interest in prohibiting same-sex couples to marry. The legislature laid the groundwork for this decision.

For those opposed to Gay Marriage, their work on an amendment to the California State Constitution becomes that much more critical. If this amendment had been in place prior to the California Supreme Court addressing this current case, the Court’s decision would likely have been different.

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