Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Equality loses in California - for now

Last year, the California Supreme Court ruled that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, making it the second state in the US to allow full gay marriage. The bigots immediately launched a campaign for an "except for gays" amendment to the state constitution, and successfully passed Proposition 8 last November. This morning, the California Supreme Court ruled on the legality of Proposition 8 - and unfortunately it was not good news for equality:

he California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage but also ruled that gay couples who wed before the election will continue to be married under state law.


Although the court split 6-1 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the justices were unanimous in deciding to keep intact the marriages of as many as 18,000 gay couples who exchanged vows before the election. The marriages began last June, after a 4-3 state high court ruling striking down the marriage ban last May.

This was expected, but it is still disappointing. But it is likely to be only a temporary setback. As the LA Times points out, there is already a new referendum campaign underway to repeal Proposition 8, and given the narrowness of Proposition 8's victory and the massive shift in public opinion between the passage of California's original gay marriage ban in 2000 and Proposition 8 in 2008, the question isn't whether we will win - but when.