California Supreme Court Declares State Marriage Laws Unconstitutional

Emily Douglas

The California Supreme Court today declared the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.

The California Supreme Court today declared the state’s marriage laws unconstitutional. In a 4-3 decision, the Court said that the state’s domestic partnership law was not an adequate substitute for marriage, paving the way for same-sex marriages to be lawfully conducted in the state.

The lawsuit stemmed from the same-sex weddings conducted in San Francisco in 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom instructed the city clerk to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. When the California Supreme Court halted the marriages a month later, a cohort of married couples, along with the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups, sued to challenge the 1977 California constitutional amendment that had declared same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Though he has vetoed two previous attempts by the California state legislature to legalize gay marriage — once claiming that the courts needed to speak on the issue before it could be decided — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said that he will not contest this ruling. "I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling," the governor said.

Approximately 100,000 gay couples live in California, and about a quarter of them have children, reports the LA Times.

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Much more at the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, at the LA Times and at the Sacramento Bee.

The California Supreme Court’s decision:

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