Gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry in California, the state Supreme Court said today in a historic ruling that could be repudiated by the voters in November.
In a 4-3 decision, the justices said the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the "fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship." The ruling is likely to flood county courthouses with applications from couples newly eligible to marry when the decision takes effect in 30 days.
"The California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," Chief Justice Ronald George wrote in the majority opinion.
Allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry "will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage," George said.
The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog fills us in on the background as well as offering up this little nugget of information:
But here’s a catch: Even if the court votes to overturn the appellate court ruling and invalidate the 1977 law, the ruling might not stick. “Pro-family” organizations have submitted more than 1.1 million signatures for an initiative that would amend the state Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. If at least 694,354 signatures are found to be valid, the measure would go on the November ballot and, if approved by voters, would override any court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
Guess that means the fight has isn't over but has just begun.
Allah over at Hot Air has skimmed through the ruling and has some interesting thoughts on the subject.
That is all until I have a chance to finish reading through the ruling myself.