Thursday, May 15, 2008

Supreme Court of California Rules for Marriage Equality

The ruling is in. California's Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality. The key intent expressed in the ruling:

It also is important to understand at the outset that our task in this proceeding is not to decide whether we believe, as a matter of policy, that the officially recognized relationship of a same-sex couple should be designated a marriage rather than a domestic partnership (or some other term), but instead only to determine whether the difference in the official names of the relationships violates the California Constitution

I believe this ruling, based on the Constitution of California, will have significant precedence in a federal court challenge to DOMA. A major US court has just ruled that excluding gay people from marriage, even if in name only constitutes a violation of the principles of equal protection under the law.

Despite what some Republicans claim, since our federal constitution also has strong equal protection clause in the Fourteenth Amendment (which applies both to state governments AND the federal government), this ruling could place additional pressure through precedent on the US Supreme Court to (at the very least) strike down DOMA language that bans federal recognition of California and Massachusetts marriages.

Anti-gay forces are preparing a constitutional amendment referendum campaign, similar to the failed effort in Massachusetts, to overturn the equal protection rights of LGBT Californians. Outright and the LP will both fight this effort vigorously, and I believe the hate amendment will ultimately fail.

The best news for California couples? California must begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses within thirty days. Congratulations to the California Supreme Court, and all of the families of California.