A Short History Lesson on Same Sex Marriages in California

February 25th, 2011

Proposition 8 (“Prop 8”) sought to make same-sex marriages in California unlawful. The California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 invalidating same sax marriages. The Petitioners in the same-sex marriage case then sued in federal court seeking to hold Prop 8 unconstitutional.

The federal court agreed, Judge Walker held that Prop 8 violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the United States Constitution, as these are fundamental rights. Judge Walker found that the denial of same sex couples to marry denies them of the fundamental right of equal protection by discriminating based upon sex and sexual orientation. Judge Walker went further and stated that the proponents of Prop 8 may not even have standing (the legal right) to contest the validity of same sex marriages because California officials (Our Governor and Attorney General) refused to take a position and act as a party.

Before Judge Walker’s decision can be challenged, someone needs standing to sue. The proponents of Prop 8 have now applied to the California Supreme Court to decide if the proponents of Prop 8 have standing to pursue this litigation now that the State of California has refused to participate. If the California Supreme Court denies standing, this issue may be then heard by the United States Supreme Court.

The advocates of same sex marriages are making progress in their long fought legal battles. To bolster their position, this week President Obama instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because the administration can no longer defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. This is no doubt because of the legal reasoning supporting Judge Walker’s decision. This is possibly the verge of a new era for our Country.