Thursday, May 15, 2008

Court Rules That Same-Sex Partners Can Marry in California

On May 15th, the California State Supreme Court issued its decision that laws that have excluded gay and lesbian couples from the right to marry were unconstitutional. Gatherings will be held around the state to celebrate the ruling. See NCLR's list of sites or Add an event to Indybay's calendar California in 1948 was the first state in the modern era to strike down laws banning inter-racial marriage, leading to a nationwide drive to do away with those laws, which culminated in the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, which struck down such laws around the nation. Massachusetts already issues same-sex marriage licenses, while some other states provide for civil unions for same-sex couples. The California court cited the state's equal protection clause in striking down the discrimination. It also ruled that marriages performed outside of California must be recognized as legal by the State of California. The Transgender Law Center is pleased by the ruling, as it says, "it creates marriage equality by removing gender as criteria for a valid marriage." It writes that transgender people will gain a sense of security, as they often have to struggle for recognition of their legal sex as well as their relationships. If the decision is not overturned by the US Supreme Court or an upcoming anti-same sex marriage initiative, same-sex couples could be able to share Social Security and pension survivors' benefits, the right to uncontested inheritance of a deceased spouse's housing, and unquestioned right of visitation in hospitals. California conservatives have collected signatures for an anti-gay marriage initiatve, which is awaiting verification of signatures by the Secretary of State. Both Democratic Party candidates for president reportedly support civil unions, but not marriage, for same-sex couples. California Supreme Court's Full Decision | Initial announcement and discussion | Press Release from Transgender Law Center | Statements from local and national same-sex marriage organizations || Some Past Coverage on Indybay: 5/8: CSU Holds Mock Marriage Ceremony | California High Court Hears Oral Arguments on March 4th, 2008 | 2/18/2004: SF Issues Over 2000 Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

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