California’s gay marriage ban, Prop 8, upheld, but marriages remain valid

Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage demonstrators wait in front of San Francisco City Hall for the California State Supreme Court to rule on the legality of a voter-approved ban on same-sex unions, Tuesday, May 26, 2009 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

In a rather odd twist to the Proposition 8 decision, the California’s Supreme Court decided to uphold the ban on gay marriage, but recognize the 18,000 marriages that took place before the law took effect. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The 6-1 decision was issued by the same court that declared a year ago that a state law defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman violated the right to choose one’s spouse and discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.

Prop. 8 undid that ruling. The author of last year’s 4-3 decision, Chief Justice Ronald George, said today that the voters were within their rights to approve a constitutional amendment redefining marriage to include only male-female couples.

Justice Carlos Moreno, in a lone dissent, said a majority should not be allowed to deprive a minority of fundamental rights by passing an initiative.

The justices ruled unanimously that Prop. 8 was not retroactive and that gay and lesbian couples who relied on the court’s May 2008 ruling to get married before the Nov. 4 election will remain legally wed.

In this jerky two-step those couples who were johnny on the spot with their vows get to keep them. In one of the most bizarre grandfather clauses I have ever heard gay marriages exist in California but they are a way of the past.

However, though this is by no means a victory, it does seem more like one step back than two. I’m not sure that it is something to be grateful for, but as more and more states legalize same-sex marriage (Supreme Courts of Iowa and Connecticut and the legislatures of Vermont and Maine, joining Massachusetts, whose high court issued the first such ruling in 2003; similar legislation is pending in New Hampshire and New York),  it is likely to return to California some day. As younger generations become ready for marriage how can they not look at the small pocket of gay married Californian’s and demand to have the same rights?

So as frustrated as I may be today I have faith for the future, and hope that it is a near one. And thank you Justice Moreno, for standing with the queer community. I know that it can be difficult going out on a limb on your own. Maybe we should throw him a party?

10 comments to California’s gay marriage ban, Prop 8, upheld, but marriages remain valid

  • This is our generations Stonewall and it is time we come together in respect and positive energy to fight for our basic human rights. I found this quote today and it seems so fitting for what is ahead of us. … … … "Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." — Ryunosuke Satoro

  • homos4eva

    Dear California: how many times will you break my heart?

    Portlanders will march 6pm tonight at the water fountain at waterfront park.


    all of the lovely homos of this country.

  • maybe SuperGay will be there…

  • Bob

    crotch-licking and sodomy is not a human right. It is perverted, disgusting and offensive. I dont want to teach my children to have homosex any more than I want to teach them to have sex with animals. Its very sad that people actually think that these things are normal and acceptable. It has nothing to do with hate-its groce.

    • Maj

      Hey, Bob…

      I look forward to seeing more typos on your posters in two weeks.. See you all there! 🙂

    • I could say so much to you Bob, but I can tell by your typo's that education was not a highlight within your life. But what I am curious about, why are you on a gay website anyway? A little curious Bob? Now go back to reading pieces of your Bible, ignoring the sections that call your lifestyle sinful, and please stay away from the children with your lies.

  • dear bob,

    nobody is saying that you have to teach your children anything. You don't even have to teach them critical thinking skills,politeness, tolerance or acceptance if you don't want to. That's your right. And for what it's worth – sex with animals is against the law.

    Crotch-licking and sodomy happen whether gay people exist or not (that means no blowjobs for you!). They most certainly exist between heterosexual couples. In fact, if we added up all the people in the US who are enagaging in oral and anal sex at this time then I'm sure that the numbers of straight people vastly, vastly outweigh the numbers of gay people. Maybe you should organize a protest against heterosexuals who enjoy anal and oral sex. I'm already excited about your posters! But you might be the only one there. Back to gay people – what about those of us who don't have oral or anal sex? Can we get married? How is Britney spears 24h marriage in vegas more valid before the eyes of the law than people who have been in 5, 12, 20 year relationships who want equal immigration rights, health insurance, and any of the 1100 rights you enjoy (regardless of what sexual activity you ejoy) and i don't?

    This protest., this movement, this law, this ban: It has nothing to do with sexual activity directly. Celibate gay people can not get married. Straight people who have all kinds of sex you find disgusting can. How is that fair? How is that not discriminatory? How is this perversion – and i mean perversion in it's original sense (inverted) something you can stand behind?

  • amydivine

    Bob's vitriolic commentary above is tolerated, but only because ranting homophobes have as much right to their opinion and beliefs as anyone else ~ BUT I will point out that Bob has the same obligation, as a human, to not impose his particular set of beliefs on anyone else.

    Bob: Your "normal" is not my "normal," thankfully, nor would I wish to impose your hateful view of "normal" on anyone else, including the animals you believe are protected by state-invalidation of same sex marriage. However that works. (?)

  • […] 8 has had a rocky history, initially upheld but while maintaining the legitimacy of existing gay marriages in California but was then overturned, though the stay on marriages stayed in place as the appeals […]

  • […] percent of the vote, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, it was initially upheld but also maintained the legitimacy of existing gay marriages. It was then overturned, though the stay on marriages stayed in place as the appeals process […]