In a historic 4-to-3 vote early this morning, the California Supreme Court gave the thumbs up to same sex matrimony, effectively overturning the state’s current marriage laws, which claim the only valid union in California is that between a man and a woman, for being discriminatory.

Adrienne (in wedding dress) and Connie kiss after vows at UCSB's annual Queer Wedding 2005.
Paul Wellman (file)

The ruling brings to a close, at least for now, years of legal jockeying on the matter that included a 2000 statewide ballot initiative against same sex wedding vows and the California’s State Legislature twice approving gay marriage only to have Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger veto their efforts on both occasions. In what is undoubtedly music to the ears of the state’s gay population, Chief Justice Ron George wrote in today’s ruling, “Our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation.” To celebrate the victory, Santa Barbara’s Pacific Pride Foundation is organizing a rally this evening, May 15, at 5:30 pm at the Santa Barbara Courthouse for people of all sexual preferences to gather in the name of unity.

Even with the state’s highest court deciding that marriage is for every one regardless of his or her sexual orientation, same-sex wedding vows still face a potentially damning blow this upcoming November, as a coalition of religious and social conservative groups are working to once again put the issue to the voters of California – this time in a measure that, if it passed, would make gay marriage bans a permanent part of California’s constitution. To that end, California’s Secretary of State is expected to decide by the end of June whether the measures sponsors gathered enough signatures to qualify the controversial amendment for a vote. In the mean time, Schwarzenegger, despite his prior rulings, issued a statement today indicating that he would not support an amendment to the state constitution that would overturn a decision by the Supreme Court.


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