Date registered: Mar 2005
Vehicle: '01-E320 & 02-ST2
Location: John 15:18-19
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Prop 8 upheld by CA Supreme Court 6-1
I have to admit I was surprised by the ruling...
Calif. court upholds gay-marriage ban
But ruling by justices also allows existing same-sex unions to stand
Tues., May 26, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO - The state Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who wed before the law took effect will stay married.
The 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George rejected an argument from gay-rights activists that the ban revised the California constitution's equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature's approval.
The court said the people have a right, through the ballot box, to change their constitution.
"In a sense, petitioners' and the attorney general's complaint is that it is just too easy to amend the California constitution through the initiative process. But it is not a proper function of this court to curtail that process; we are constitutionally bound to uphold it," the ruling said.
The announcement of the decision caused outcry among a sea of demonstrators who had gathered in front of the San Francisco courthouse awaiting the ruling. Holding signs and many waving rainbow flags, they chanted "shame on you." Many people also held hands in a chain around an intersection in an act of protest.
Gay-rights activists immediately vowed to resume their fight, and said they would go back to voters as early as next year to repeal the measure, Proposition 8.
The split decision provided some relief for the 18,000 gay couples who married in the brief time same-sex marriage was legal last year but bit of good news wasn't enough to dull the anger from the ruling that banned gay marriage.
"It's not about whether we get to stay married. Our fight is far from over," said Jeannie Rizzo, 62, who was one of the lead plaintiffs along with her wife, Polly Cooper. I have about 20 years left on this earth, and I'm going to continue to fight for equality every day."
The state Supreme Court had ruled last May it was unconstitutional to deny gay couples the right to wed. Many same-sex couples had rushed to get married before the November vote on Proposition 8, fearing it could be passed.
When the measure was passed, gay-rights activists went back to the court arguing that the ban was improperly put to voters. That was the issue justices decided Tuesday.
Gay-rights advocates scheduled marches throughout California and in several other states for Tuesday evening to protest the ruling.
Activists in the San Francisco Bay area, including several clergy members, said they planned to block the street outside the courthouse and to be arrested in a mass show of civil disobedience if the justices did not invalidate Prop 8.
"Words are not enough right now. We believe it's time to put our bodies on the line to show that separate is not equal," said Kip Williams, an activist with One Struggle, One Fight, a group that was launched in response to Proposition 8's passage.
In advance of the ruling, about 400 same-sex marriage supporters attended an interfaith prayer service held Monday night at San Francisco's Episcopal Grace Cathedral.
The Rev. Roland Stringfellow, with the Pacific School of Religion, said the service was meant to show how many communities of faith stand with gay couples on this issue. Among those to offer prayers were a Sikh mother, a Buddhist nun, a Jewish rabbi and Episcopal Bishop Marc Andrus.
Proposition 8's supporters, meanwhile, have not planned any organized events to accompany the decision.
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)