California Supreme Court Upholds Proposition 8

After I listened to the oral arguments of the California Supreme Court’s hearing on Proposition 8 and gay marriage, it seemed pretty obvious that the Court would find, based on state law that had nothing to do with the gay marriage issue, that Proposition 8 was a proper amendment to the state Constitution.

And, it turns out I was correct:

The California Supreme Court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage today, ratifying a decision made by voters last year that runs counter to a growing trend of states allowing the practice.

The decision, however, preserves the 18,000 marriages performed between the court’s decision last May that same-sex marriage was lawful and the passage by voters in November of Proposition 8, which banned it. Supporters of the proposition argued that the marriages should no longer be recognized.

Today’s decision, written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George for a 6-to-1 majority, said that same-sex couples still have the right to civil unions, which gives them the ability to “choose one’s life partner and enter with that person into a committed, officially recognized, and protected family relationship that enjoys all of the constitutionally based incidents of marriage.” But the justices said that the voters had clearly expressed their will to limit the formality of marriage to heterosexual couples.

This is hardly the end of the issue for either the nation as a whole or California specifically. Despite the setback in California, same sex marriage is now the law in Iowa and Vermont, and is close to becoming law in New Hampshire. At the same time, the groundwork is already being laid for yet another referendum in California that would seek to overturn Proposition 8 — that is likely to be on the ballot in either 2010 or 2012 depending on how the petition drives go.

This is far from over.