Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gay Marriage comes to California

Eat, drink, and be married!

The California Supreme Court has spoken, albeit by the slimmest of margins. The vote was 4-3, (with one dissenting opinion blasting the ruling as an “exercise in legal jujitsu”) but that is all it takes! The full opinion is 172 pages long, of which the majority opinion is 120 pages.

The concluding paragraph of the California Supreme Court majority opinion is uncompromising:

Accordingly, in light of the conclusions we reach concerning the constitutional questions brought to us for resolution, we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union “between a man and a woman” is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand.

Plaintiffs are entitled to the issuance of a writ of mandate directing the appropriate state officials to take all actions necessary to effectuate our ruling in this case so as to ensure that county clerks and other local officials throughout the state, in performing their duty to enforce the marriage statutes in their 12 1 jurisdictions, apply those provisions in a manner consistent with the decision of this court. Further, as the prevailing parties, plaintiffs are entitled to their costs.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal is reversed, and the matter is remanded to that court for further action consistent with this opinion.

GEORGE, C. J. [Chief Justice]


There is no further judicial appeal possible, even to the U.S. Supreme Court, but expect the inevitable state constitutional amendment initiative this November to bring back our generation's Plessy v. Ferguson. Although most of the money will come from out-of-state, it is the voters of California who will decide, and in a Presidential year with Barack Obama on the ballot, I hope we can drive a stake through this vampire once and for all.