Paul Sakuma/AP
A Prop. 8 supporter smiles after the California State Supreme Court upheld a voter-
approved ban on same-sex marriage.

California Supreme Court Rules 6-1 to Uphold Prop 8

May 26, 2009 04:58 PM
by Rachel Balik
The court ruled today that while the gay marriage ban in California would remain in effect, 18,000 gay marriages performed before the Prop 8 vote will remain valid.

Supreme Court Says Yes to Proposition 8 and 18,000 Existing Marriages

Today, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban approved by voters in November 2008. Gay rights advocates argued that Proposition 8, which was allegedly a revision of the constitution, was actually an amendment and should therefore have passed through legislation before becoming a law. The Court rejected this claim, the AP reports.

Although the decision was expected, disappointed protestors rallied outside the court. As anticipated, the court also ruled that the 18,000 gay marriages that took place while same-sex marriage was legal in the state would continue to be legally valid marriages.

The Los Angeles Times blog L.A. Now explains that the decision will not affect the state’s domestic partnership laws, which are separate from gay marriage laws. The blog post says that proponents of gay marriage will try to put their own measure on the ballot in 2010.
The Wall Street Journal reported that couples outside the Court House said that they would commit “civil disobedience” in response to the ruling. Protests started immediately, and a Twitter user known as 1 Street, 1 Fight is reporting them live. According the feed, an Episcopal priest was the first person to be arrested.

Background: Would a Court Reversal Have Undercut the Democratic Process?

The Wall Street Journal also said that based on the questions justices asked the lawyers presenting the case, it seemed likely the court would not overturn the ban. When the hearing was first announced, ban supporters argued that a court ruling against Prop 8 was a threat to the democratic process and ignored years of legal precedent. Most legal experts say that opponents of Prop 8 did not really have a case. It was even pointed out that gay marriage activists had tried to claim that Prop 8 was an amendment before November 2008 in order to keep it off the ballot, but that claim was rejected at the time.

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