After months of waiting, citizens of California have their answer.
The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 in a six to one decision yesterday.
Although Prop 8 was not overturned, the approximately 18,000 same sex marriages that were performed in the state of California prior to the November vote will be upheld.
The justices emphasized that their decision was made regardless of their personal beliefs, but in the best interest of the state.
“Our task in the present proceeding is not to determine whether the provision at issue is wise or sound as a matter of policy or whether we, as individuals, believe it should be a part of the California Constitution,” wrote Chief Justice Ronald George in the majority opinion. “Regardless of our views as individuals on this question of policy, we recognize as judges and as a court our responsibility to confine our consideration to a determination of the constitutional validity and legal effect of the measure in question.”
While the decision was nearly unanimous, Justice Carlos J. Moreno authored a concurring and dissenting opinion.
“I conclude that requiring discrimination against a minority group on the basis of a suspect classification strikes at the core of the promise of equality that underlies our California Constitution and thus represents such a drastic and far reaching change in the nature and operation of our governmental structure that it must be considered a ‘revision‘ of the state constitution rather than a mere ‘amendment‘ thereof,” Moreno wrote.
Many local and campus organizations were outraged by the decision.
“I think today’s court decision demonstrates the prevalence of homophobia and heterosexism that still exists in our state and our society,” said Sheri Atkinson, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center director. “We need to create protections for all types of family structures and not limit those rights and responsibilities to only certain types of relationships.“
Several students and members of the gay community said they were disheartened by the decision, but remain optimistic for the future.
“I think the decision is sad because California is supposed to be a forward state and lead the nation in forward thinking ideas,” said Tarek Mohamed-Aly, senior design major and former member of Delta Lambda Phi, a gay interest fraternity. “I also feel that the judgment is contradictory in the sense that they made gay marriage illegal but the marriages that already exist are legal – it creates a division within the gay community.“
Requests for comment from several Muslim and Mormon church-affliated groups were not returned Tuesday.
The Gay Straight Alliance for Equality, an independent local organization, organized a rally in Davis‘ Central Park on Tuesday featuring speakers from the UC Davis School of Law, Davis area faith groups, LGBT activist groups and local elected officials.
GSAFE is planning to work with local faith-based organizations in order to move forward on the issue.
“We are a little upset, we expected this, but regardless we had hoped that simple majority of citizens in California couldn’t take away rights from a minority,” said Brian Ploskina, GSAFE public communications coordinator.
Despite the outcome of the decision, the organization remains hopeful for future fights to gain same sex rights.
“We are also quite hopeful for the future – Prop 8 passed by a very thin margin, and it has also started dialogues between individuals and organizations that have not spoken about this issue before,” Ploskina said.
GSAFE and the American Civil Liberties Union held a rally in Central Park in Davis Tuesday evening for supporters of the marriage equality movement in the wake of today’s historic decision regarding same sex marriage.
The Supreme Court’s full decision is available at courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/.
CAITLIN COBB can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.