Gays have right to marry in California

Today the California Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that laws restricting the right to marry to opposite sex couples are a violation of the state’s constitution. The decision, 4-3, by a Court that is dominated by Republicans and moderate-conservatives will no doubt be controversial and will be challenged by an initiative measure.

I have to admit, that as a gay man when I heard of the decision I broke down in tears. Finally I have been recognized as a person of equal rights and merit to the rest of you. I am a human being, not a mistake.

California, with both the largest population and the largest gay population in the U.S. joins with Massachusetts in recognizing the right of all its citizens to equal treatment by the state.

In a complex ruling, the Court ruled that San Francisco acted precipitously when it issued marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples in 2004 and ruled those marriages were not lawful. The state passed the most extensive domestic partnership law in the nation but this ruling held that separate is not equal.

I am not going to argue here the wisdom of this ruling. Frankly, if you cannot see it, I am unlikely to convince you to change your mind. I respect the right of any religion to decline to officiate such marriages, but the state has no right to enforce religious beliefs.

This is a short article but my joy is overflowing and I wanted to share this tremendous decision with you.


  1. Ted Remington

    How could we become more open-minded if all 50 states passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage?


  2. ekaton

    ‘ “Thus far, 27 states have passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in the United States. Hopefully as time goes on and we become more open-minded, there will one day be 50.” ‘

    Must be a misprint?

    — Kent Shaw

  3. Sandra Price

    Ted. We must take the issue off the federal and state laws. Do we really care who others marry? Are you threatened by two gays living next door? Do you believe that gays are all pedophiles? Could it me you are not facing an educated look at humans and are simply looking for sins where they do not exist? The bedroom doors are closed to any level of government.

    Facing reality will always defeat closed minds. It just takes time for some people.

  4. Sandra Price

    No Adam, I did not mis-read Ted. Homophobes are looking forward to bringing this issue into the state constitutions and I only point why they do. They are sin seekers and get a thrill over making laws at any level that would make gays of either sex inferior. It’s the church speaking out against American values. I’ve been in this battle a long time, not because I am personally affected by these laws but unless we have freedoms and liberties for all Americans we might as well chose up shop and get rid of what is left of the Constitution.

  5. Flapsaddle

    Concur. Mr. Remington has been quite clear as to the point being made – that the sentence in question logically contradicts the rest of the author’s implicit intent; therefore, as Mr. Shaw pointed out, it has to be a misprint/typo.

    Most sincerely,

    T. J. Flapsaddle

  6. Sandra Price

    Phil, I am so proud of California that I might want to move back. If they do push an initiative it would be a tragedy to bring this issue up prior to the November election. It sounds like a deliberate attempt to bring Conservatives into the fight.

    These are the same people who approve of torture and deny the rights of people. You are correct that this is a religious issue and the churches have the right to deny the ceremony, just as the Catholic churches refuse to allow a Gay funeral in their sactuary. It must stay within the State to have the freedom to marry any couple. I was delighted with the news.

  7. Hal Brown

    If I could speak for Massachusetts (and who’s going to stop me?) I would and will welcome you and your state to the 21st century.

    We saw none of the dire consequenses predicted by the bigots who rallied against same sex marriage here. I saw them at their reprehensible worst, some of them bused in from the south, with hateful signs that made me want to thow up, at a rally in from ouf our state capitol.

    As you may recall I was part of a lesbian wedding where I gave a little speech. The brides stood in front of a lake. As they said their vows two swans swam by a few feet away. Then a hummingbird decided it was time to sip nectar from one of the flowers at the altar.

    And all those "Godly" people say He’s against same sex marriage.

    From the Boston Globe today LINK

    The legal underpinnings of the two high court decisions differed. The California court ruled that marriage is a "fundamental right" of all citizens – a more sweeping finding than the one from the Massachusetts court, which legalized gay marriage because all citizens are guaranteed "equal protection" under the law, said Mary L. Bonauto, the lead attorney in the Massachusetts case.

    "This is not a little ripple in a pond," said Bonauto, the civil rights project director at Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. "This is a wave. This is big. What Massachusetts did was extraordinarily significant. Someone had to be first. But having the second state be the largest in the country, with an influential judiciary, makes it quite a powerhouse."

  8. Sandra Price

    Phil, here is your support from my old county north of you.

    This is from the San Luis Obispo Tribune – today.

    GALA will hold rally in SLO today to celebrate court’s decision to uphold gay marriage rights
    The Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast is hosting a press conference and rally at the County Government Center, 1055 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo, at 5 p.m. today.

    The nonprofit organization will host speakers and celebrate the decision of the California Supreme Court to uphold marriage rights for same-sex couples with a wedding cake.

    GALA aims to promote the well-being of the gay and lesbian community. The event is free and open to the public.

    -Tonya Strickland

  9. TallMIke2

    Phil, I greeted this momentous news with tears: tears of joy because all citizens of California will finally have the identical rights under the law as every other citizen of California; tears of sadness as I remember Matthew Sheperd and others who have been murdered by bigots and religious zealots. I wish they could have lived to celebrate this day.

  10. badthing

    Hi Phil and others,

    Phil I am very, VERY happy for you and for EVERY gay person whose life is being respected via this important law.

    I feel that this is excellent news from my state’s Supreme Court!!!!!!

    I can’t say that I’m too surprised, however, since I knew that one day this would happen here. After all, this is California…a place that I consider to be this country’s most tolerant and diverse state.

    Thus far, 27 states have passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in the United States. Hopefully as time goes on and we become more open-minded, there will one day be 50.

    If I live to be 100 I will never comprehend why any individual would even feel the NEED to stand between two mature human beings who have the desire to legalize their love.

    Peace, Love, Understanding and Respect,
    Marilyn’s Non-Violent Planet

  11. Ted Remington

    “Thus far, 27 states have passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage in the United States. Hopefully as time goes on and we become more open-minded, there will one day be 50.”



  12. Sandra Price

    What is it about the quote you don’t like? Does equality for all American rub you the wrong way?

  13. pondering_it_all

    There are already thousands of same-sex couples in California with registered domestic partnerships. After the 30 day implementation period expires, I urge them ALL to go and get married before the November election. The state supreme court has found that the current constitution entitles same-sex couples to marry, so even if the constitution is changed later it can’t retroactively cancel a marriage that was legal at the time it was entered. (This may apply to all of those forcibly annulled San Francisco marriages as well.) The rules (the constitution) can be changed, but the court’s decision regarding the current constitution can’t be undone.

    The best way to get wide public support for same-sex marriage is to have examples of happy and successful gay and lesbian couples visible in every community. (This is why the Massachusetts decision has never been overturned.) Once everybody sees that such couples offend nobody and take nothing away from heterosexual marriages, public opinion will make it impossible to retract this right.

  14. Sandra Price

    The voters in Arizona voted for the Gay Marriages but our Republican State Legislators have denied this freedom.

  15. keith

    I think what has all the homophobes in such a tizzy over these latest developments in California is that, one by one, the laws that have enabled their bigotry for all these many years are finally going by the wayside.

    More and more countries around the world (as well as states here in the United States) are now making homosexual unions legal, just like the horribly discriminatory state and federal laws that outlawed interracial marriage just a few short decades ago went the way of the dinosaur before them.

    And the homophobes are feeling utterly powerless to stop it.

    Discrimination is discrimination. And the simple fact that these issues are now being discussed in an open forum (and that even “four star” bigots like (now retired) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace were actually called on the carpet for the words they used while discussing it) is actually cause for celebration.

    That’s because it is a sure sign that all the blatantly discriminatory laws and “rules” about homosexuality in our society (including those in our military) will soon be exposed for what they really are and will then (finally!) be relegated to the dustbin of history, right along with those who continue to perpetrate such entrenched systemic discrimination.

    As former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once said, “The State as no business poking about in the bedrooms of a nation”. And for us to continue to allow our own “State” to legislate morality makes us little more than a theocracy…very much like those “terrorist” countries General Pace and his 160,000 plus army have been so gleefully trying to bomb into oblivion in the name of “freedom” over these last 5 years.

    Unfortunately, the continuing cries from the remaining bigoted homophobes in this country over these latest developments are yet more proof that our United States is still projecting itself as everything that it is not while at the same time condemning everything that it is.