A landmark decision to allow same-sex marriage in California has created some middle ground between banning gay marriage and allowing it. Chief Justice John Roberts‘ decision to overturn a lower-court’s choice to ban gay marriage, even though it was voter-approved, may set the stage for gays to marry in California! The Obama Administration was forceful in their opposition to the ban on gay marriage this year and even helped to argue against it in court. This highlighted California and many other states that allow civil unions or domestic partnerships, arguing they cannot deny the title of marriage.
Four years ago the California Supreme Court approved gay marriage and almost 18,000 couples rushes to the altar to make their marriages legal. Then non-supporters of gay marriage demanded it be outlawed and that referendum barely passed.
Roberts claimed to not have the authority to consider the appeal of supporters of Proposition 8. “Because we find that petitioners do not have standing, we have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the Ninth Circuit,” Roberts said.
The original lawsuit against Prop 8 was filed by a gay couple and a lesbian couple and it held up at both lower federal courts. According to USA Today, the district court said the law violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause because it was “premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples.” The appeals court ruled that voters could not take away a right previously granted to the state’s gays and lesbians. After that came a few successful bans on gay marriage, while many states have legalized it.
The court’s action, while not a sweeping ruling, sends the case back to California, where state and federal judges and the state’s top officials have said same-sex marriage is a matter of equal rights.
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