California Supreme Court Upholds Proposition 8 Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

The California Supreme Court has upheld the voter-enacted Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages in the state, but at the same time upheld the legality of marriages of same-sex couples who wed prior to the ban.

This decision by the Court virtually guarantees another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in California. Gay activists have indicated they may ask the voters to overturn Proposition 8 as early as next year, while supporters of Proposition 8 have pledged to fight any such efforts.

Opponents of voter-sponsored Proposition 8, including California Attorney General (and perhaps future gubernatorial candidate) Jerry Brown, had argued that Proposition 8 was an illegal constitutional revision because it took away inalienable rights based merely on a majority vote and that the legislature should have been required to place it on the ballot prior to any vote. The California Supreme Court disagreed, voting 6-1 in favor of permitting Proposition 8 to stand.

At the same time, the justices were unanimous in their decision to permit some 18,000 same-sex marriages to stand. These marriages occurred after the Court’s decision in May 2008 to recognize same-sex marriage and prior to the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008 by the voters.

Today’s LA Times has a detailed story on this issue.

For more information about marriage and other California family law issues, please contact attorney Gary D. Sparks.