May 26th, 2009
01:49 PM ET

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/05/26/california.same.sex.marriage/art.prop8.gi.jpg]


California's Supreme Court upheld Tuesday a ban on same-sex marriages that state voters passed in November, but it allowed about 18,000 same-sex marriages performed before the ban to remain valid.

The ruling was met with chants of "shame on you" from a crowd of about 1,000 people who gathered outside the court building in San Francisco.

The court made the ruling on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Opponents wanted the amendment nullified. They said the proposition alters California's Constitution and, therefore, under state law, was a revision that requires a constitutional convention.

Attorneys for the opponents also said the proposition, which removed the "marriage" label from same-sex unions, effectively deprived same-sex couples of a fundamental right guaranteed them under the equal-protection clause in the U.S. Constitution.

Justices asked many questions when they heard arguments in the case in March but didn't indicate which way they leaned, instead focusing on winnowing out each attorney's individual argument on the issue.

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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Brennis

    I don't like it when gays corelate themselves to the struggle of blacks but i can apprecite their passion.
    I am hoping that as a country we do not make gay "marriage possible" but I do hope as a country we grant all rights and obligations and legislature to gay couples so that they can have the same rights as hetero couples.

    Nuf said. Now everyone stop arguing and enjoy your lives.

    May 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  2. Jim

    Today is the Prophecy fullfilled- "As In the Days of Noah" "Because They refused to Obey God- God has given them over to reprobate Minds"
    Every hour that passes that God Does not wipe America off the Face of this earth for its sins & wickedness is a testimony to His Mercy. But Woe unto America & this Earth When His Judgement does fall. God Will punish ALL unrightousness & it will start in the house of the LORD.
    Woe unto You "Pastors" that refuse to warn the wicked of their way – That call Good Evil & Evil Good. Woe unto you Politicians & Judges – Much has been given you & much shall be required. You have been tested & failed . Will you look from the flames of eternal hell & think you are right?
    You will not hear Moses,The Prophets,Jesus Himself- You will not Repent So Fill up the Cup of your iniquity & Wickedness When you cry on the day of wrath & judgement He will not hear your cry's just as you refused to hear His Crys & pleadings to turn from your Evil ways.

    May 26, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  3. john

    'Why is Civil union not enough?'

    Mari, because its not the same. Gays and Lesbians should be given every right to them as straight people have. No one has ever voted on straight marriage before. So I dont know why people should vote on gays and lesbians being married. Our country is based on human rights, and to take them away from a minority population goes against everything this country stands for.

    So until gays and lesbians can be treated like everyone else, and expect to have the same rights as everyone else, they will continue to fight.

    we all should be fighting for this, I do believe this effects everyone, not just gay and lesbians. I love this country and the freedoms we have, but to start to take away certain 'freedoms' from 'certain people', is just plan wrong.

    Irene "Let gay coupples have their unions with all the rights and obligations that traditional couples have. But let’s leave “marriage” to be the privilage of a man and a woman only. Respect for the laws of nature call for that."

    This is my point, this statement is so ignorant. 'Laws of Nature'. I guess if we were in the stone ages, this kind of statement would make sence. But look at the divorce rates in the country, is that the laws of nature, the majority of children are molested and abused by straight people, is that the laws of nature.

    So when I see things written like this I have to scratch my head. I guess what gets me the most, is we have gays and lesbians fighting over in Iraq to keep our country free for you and me.

    Its just plain bigotry. Lets not discuss it as something else, like religion. I am a christian, but my God apparently teaches me something else and hate isnt one of the lessons.

    May 26, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  4. GF, Los Angeles

    Gee Cindy, how would your gay friends feel if they knew you didn't approve of them getting married?

    May 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  5. John from NY

    Anderson, I am a 51 year old "Gay American" as one former Governor so "Eloquently” put it. I cannot see why people are filled with such jealousy and hate of the potential happiness of others. I do not understand how my marriage to another man...the happiness, the family bond, and the benefits attained, would hurt the "sanctity" of someone else’s marriage. After all here are some of the "poster children" for the "Sanctity of Marriage: Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Larry Craig, Vita Fossella, David Vitter Congressman Bob Barr, Strom Thurmond , Eliot Spitzer, Clarence Thomas , Ted Haggard...to name a few. The whole thing sounds hypocritical and selfish to me.

    May 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  6. CV

    Cindy May 26th, 2009 3:50 pm ET

    "CV…I probably have a higher education than you so get over yourself."

    Then please sound more intelligent.

    "I have gay friends and am not a bigot"

    Right...And I have black friends too but I would prefer them to sit in the back of the bus.

    May 26, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  7. Julie

    Ashley Cox,

    You say this ruling makes you sick to your stomach. You have to understand that what gay people DO makes many people sick to their stomachs, similar to pedophilia and bestiality.

    I don't know what the answer is to this one because I believe you should have a life of love but I can't abide by what you do. Marriage is a sacrament in some religions (like Catholicism). To allow the state to equate something holy to us as being equal to something that many people find disgusting is sacreligious.

    This is America. We should be free to practice our religion as we see fit. Priests and ministers should not be forced to marry people if their union violates the principles of the faith. Fix the civil union problem if it isn't working, but leave marriage alone.

    May 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  8. B in California

    Honestly, as a native Californian, I'm disappointed but not surprised. I wasn't surprised that California passed prop 8 to begin with (even though I was vehemently against it). And granted I don't agree with the court's decision, they ruled by the letter of the law, and the amendment was valid. I think people who believe in equality for all (my people), need to group together and get ready for the next election. Let's not dwell on this minor setback and get ready for CHANGE!

    May 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  9. Irene

    Why nobody is making a point that the main and profound difference between the traditional marriage and the gay union is the one upheld by the nature itself – none of the gay couuples can produce a child that combines genetics of both parents. They can use a donor, they can adopt, but they cannot "make" their own child the way traditional male/female couples do.
    Nature itself is based on the premise of male/female partnership. Without that partnership, or the good old marriage, where would we get next generations of people?
    We should not play games with nature as it has powerful ways to punish us.
    Let gay coupples have their unions with all the rights and obligations that traditional couples have. But let's leave "marriage" to be the privilage of a man and a woman only. Respect for the laws of nature call for that.

    May 26, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  10. Mari

    My question to the LGBT community is: Why is Civil union not enough?

    I am a liberal, who voted for Obama and I am a Christian (Catholic). I oppose Gay marriage. I do not hate anyone, I treat everyone with dignity and respect.

    Why is it that the LGBT community is so dead set on same-sex-marriage?

    Marriage, has been a religious institution for centuries. Why not leave it to the heterosexual community and faith communities?

    I hope someone will see my question and answer it, I will check back and read your answer.

    Peace everyone!

    May 26, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  11. Lisa in CA

    This decision was not about discrimination - it was about whether or not Prop 8 was amended the state constitution or revised it. The court ruled on such. Again, the anti-Prop 8 folks will put together a proposition that will amend the state constitution overturning this one. Think of it along the lines of Prohibition.

    May 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  12. Shelley

    5 words: separation of church and state.

    May 26, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  13. Marian

    Of course gays are being oppressed with this ruling. The mere fact that they want to get married in CA and cannot tells you that. This is just the so-called "values people" thinking they know what is best for everyone. Why would anyone care if the gays decide they want to marry. If two gay people get married, just how is that going to affect my marriage? I cannot see how it would so why would I want to prevent these people from doing what they want to do. This just another way for the pseudo-religious to force their views on a group of people.

    May 26, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  14. Albert

    It seems to me that gay men have a dislike for women and gay women have a dislike for men. I guess I have that opinion because of the way they express themselves toward the opposite sex (Perez hilton is a excellent example of hate for women). So, if you have a dislike for a women, or men, then why would you walk around acting like that which you dislike/ hate? That's the insanity of homosexuality. And they want the rest of us to follow that act. I don't think so!!!!

    May 26, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  15. Debra Walker

    I agree with the last comment, "Surprised that Liberal California actually did the right thing and upheld the vote of the people. Time for the gay community to practice the same tolerance they preach. Name it Civil unions and you will have the support, but trying to redefine marriage will not." The gay community cannot change the definition of marrige that has been here since the beginning of time. We love the gay community – I am sure most of us have a family member or know someone that is gay. I have a sister that may be gay. I love her and would die for her. But because I love her I will not lie to her and tell her being gay is okay. It is not natural – if it were – same sex partners should be able to produce children?

    May 26, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  16. Cindy

    @ CV...I probably have a higher education than you so get over yourself.

    As far as the name calling..yeah thats all you can do when you know that you are wrong. And just so you know..I have gay friends and am not a bigot. So you're wrong once again. I don't hate anyone and get along with everyone. Just because I don't believe the same as you doesn't mean that I don't associate with you or that I hate you.


    May 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  17. Albert

    The California supreme court made the right ruling on prop 8. Those states that have passed laws that allow gays to be married will feel the negative effects in the future. I guess those states have forgotten that gays and drug users are the largest groups that are infected with the AIDS virus. It is spread through anal sex and sharing of needles. If you approve the act of sodomy then you don't mind paying the medical cost that is attached to such behavior. The doctors visits, medication and also taking care of that group of people that will soon be on the social security roll due to their unnatural sexual acts. AND, if they decide to have children they will have to break their marriage vows in order to become pregnant. So allowing homosexual (those who are interested in having sex) to marry has it's price. Do you really want to pay that price?

    May 26, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  18. lam0nt Austin

    Probably the only time I agree with Cindy Ga,
    It cant be called a marriage because it goes against what marriage really is (between a man and a woman), So call it whatever you want and give them the rights that apply to what they need in the case of hospital visits and death rights and maybe even insurance on a particular level. But you cant call it a marriage unless god says so....

    Lamont Austin

    May 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  19. noel

    If marriage is defined as between a man and a woman, it is implied according to the new ruling that any marriage between gays and lebians is illegal and that makes the 18000 so far performed illegal too.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  20. CV

    Cindy May 26th, 2009 2:20 pm ET

    It’s great that we live in a democracy. It’s also great to have a judicial branch that will interpret the constitution and state’s law so bigots like you don’t go voting away rights of the minority. Do America a favor and tell your kids to stay in school.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  21. Cindy

    @ Stacy..they are not oppressed. They live where ever they want, with who they want, and how they want. There is no oppression there. If you want to talk oppression that was when you were made to live in a certain area and couldn't be around anyone that wasn't like you...like the blacks were treated. Gays are treated nothing like that. Stop trying to use that as an excuse. It's not true at all!!


    May 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  22. Ashley Cox

    Yet again.. I must say that I am deeply disgusted by the decision on this. Being 21, and a lesbian, I feel as though I have no future. Isn't the U.S. supposed to be the land of the free? Why cant everyone just let us be happy, and let us make our own "mistakes" if thats what they like to call it. Honeslty, this just makes me sick to my stomach.. I can't believe it. You know what though? I'm not letting this stop me from loving someone and from me having a ceremony... even if it's not official. I'm just hoping that one day, this will all change..... 🙁

    May 26, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  23. Melissa

    *sighs * no one is redefinging marriage. The Christians are just trying to claim that so they can feel superior.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  24. Stacy

    Cindy said: "We live in a Democracy where the majority of people rule."

    From the U.S. Department of State publication, Principles of Democracy:

    Majority rule is a means for organizing government and deciding public issues; it is not another road to oppression. Just as no self-appointed group has the right to oppress others, so no majority, even in a democracy, should take away the basic rights and freedoms of a minority group or individual.

    May 26, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  25. Erik Vasquez

    I am gay and I dont really every feel the need to get married and have that useless piece of paper everyone is so hot for. However, I think it is SO funny that heterosexuals are trying to defend an institution that is riddled with divorce, annulment and infidelity. Wake up people...your precious term of "marriage" is pathetic and you all have made it that way. Gays...stick with the term "Civil Unions" and lets show these heteros how its to keep something sacred!

    May 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  26. Melissa

    I am ashamed of the people who think this is a good thing. Despicable human beings.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  27. Kyle


    sorry to burst your bubble, but my marriage is still valid. I am still married in California. I don't need support from you..or any other bigot. I am married and you nor the Supreme Court can change that.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  28. LA, San Diego

    Hey SLM –

    Civil Unions already exist... And no one is redefining marriage... Nothing is changing for heterosexual couples. Nothing...

    at all.

    Gay couples would change for the better. I guess this is a threat to you people b/c you're so insecure about your sexless, unhappy marriages... so sad.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  29. Kenneth Kaufman

    I think this is a sad day for California, but not the last day for gay rights. However, I think gay rights activists often miss the greater issue. Federalizing gay rights should the arguement being made. I'm 43, my partner is 38, we had a Civil Union in Vermont and have been together for almost 14 years. As residents of Florida not only is our union null and void but the larger issue of federalization means all of our joint assets like our home, our savings/checking account and any other holdings can be retaxed as income upon one of us passing. We also have no rights to social security or pension earnings by either one of us upon the others death. These lack of equalities are not only a lack of justice but devastating and imposing financially on a couple who have spent their entire adult lives together. Our earnings are basically taxed twice and we have no access to the benefits of wages earned over a life time of work due by companies and the government. Yes state battles will continue to be fought and won, but federalization is the white elephant in the room.

    Wih Peace and Love, Ken Kaufman

    May 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  30. Cindy

    The court made the right decision. The people of California have voted twice and each time said no to same sex marriage. We live in a Democracy where the majority of people rule. You can't go throwing that out each time something doesn't go your way.

    As far as the gays being discriminated against. Hello..they have civil unions in every state that has bans on same sex marriage..which is 35 by the way. The civil union gives them the right to live together, buy a house together, have children together and yes even to have insurance together. To claim they are being discriminated against is ridiculous. There is a thing called compromising...they don't want to hear that. Yet the other side has compromised and given them these rights that I just told of without putting up any kind of fight which they could have. But the gay community wants it my way or no way. Sometimes that doesn't always work out for you!

    So if anyone is discriminated against then we should overturn all rulings regarding that...well then that would make abortion needing to be overturned because hey..thre are a major amount of people against it so those people are being discriminated against. Right!? Come on..you can't have it both ways now can you?


    May 26, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  31. Lisa in CA

    For once, California is behind the progression of other states. As such, next year we will have a proposition that will overturn this one.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  32. SLM

    Surprised that Liberal California actually did the right thing and upheld the vote of the people. Time for the gay community to practice the same tolerance they preach. Name it Civil unions and you will have the support, but trying to redefine marriage will not.

    May 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  33. GF, Los Angeles

    What a very sad day.

    May 26, 2009 at 1:52 pm |