May 26th, 2009
02:20 PM ET
14 years ago

California high court upholds same-sex marriage ban

SAN FRANCISCO, California (CNN) - California's Supreme Court has upheld a ban on same-sex marriage that state voters passed in November, but allowed about 18,000 marriages performed before the ban to remain valid.

The split 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.

"It's nice that my marriage is still intact, but that's not the point," Kathleen White, who married her partner in 2008, told CNN.

Opponents of the ban argued that the controversial Proposition 8, which state voters passed, 52 percent to 48 percent, in November, improperly altered the California constitution to restrict a fundamental right guaranteed in the state's charter. But the court - which had allowed same-sex marriages in a 2008 decision - found the measure was narrow enough to pass legal muster.

Filed under: California • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (177 Responses)
  1. DavidinCA

    I did not vote for Prop 8 but I am glad to see that the Court did not overturn the results of the election. If you put it to a vote then support what the voters have to say. Too often courts have diluted the value of the vote, each time reducing the power of our system of government.

    May 26, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. 228rory in CA

    I propose we introduce a ballot measure to amend the constitution to ban the rights of people to consume shellfish and no longer will people have the rights to wear clothes that are made from blends. Also, in addition to that ballot measure we should introduce another proclaiming slavery as legal.

    May 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. The People Rule

    Wonderful news!

    May 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. The Marginalizer

    Christians and Mormons – 1
    U.S. Constitution – 0

    ALL Americans are equal. To say otherwise makes you Anti-American. I now firmly believe that religion is Anti-American.

    May 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Chris


    I guess our Change is not coming.

    May 26, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Ron Howerton

    What a mess California voters created when they conspired to deny fundamental rights alreayd conferred by prior court decision!!! Hope all you conservatives are proud of yourselves! Maybe the US Supreme Court will finally be forced to rule on the constitutionality of anti-gay marriage legislation.

    May 26, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Shirley In California Now On The Fence Re Obama

    This is good news to me.

    May 26, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Jon in CA

    Obama must be quite happy as HE doesn't support gay marriage!

    May 26, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Dan

    I like how cnn calls it a "split ruling" when it was a 6-1 decision. That isn't too split.

    May 26, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Ryan


    Now lets move on to issues that actually MATTER. This really isn't the time for the gay marriage argument...there are far more important things to deal with. I'm so sick and tired of the protests when our economy is in the toilet, unemployment is on the rise, people are losing their homes and way of life, healthcare is in ruins and there are 2 wars that still need to be won. These issues are IMPORTANT...same sex marraige ranks in at about a distant 10th.

    May 26, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Marty, Grand Rapids

    Don't worry. This form of discrimination will fall much like it did earlier for woman and blacks. Same-sex marriage is inevitable. This just prolongs the discontent.

    May 26, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. munchmom

    Thank goodness some people are standing up for what is right...

    May 26, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Michael in NC

    I think most of the people who are opposed to gay marriage are old folks who were raised in an era of intolerance toward homosexuality. Some of them might manage to pass on their intolerance to their kids, but for the most part, I imagine their hate will die with them.

    May 26, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Wally Agboola

    Are they confused or trying to score a point? What does this mean and why would they debar others the same priviledge enjoyed by those that have married before. Does this not amount to inconsistency in the part of the judiciary. I think we need not to trust the judiciary on some cases but rather go to the poll. Stop all discriminations, period!

    May 26, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Jeff

    I'm once again embarrassed to be a Californian.

    Can we pass a constitutional amendment dividing sections of a bus by race or sexual orientation as well so long as we're passing "separate but supposedly equal" marriage amendments?

    May 26, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. JFK

    Sad day for California but not a shocker.

    May 26, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Jeremy Westenn

    This is shameful, sad, and unbearable. It so happens now, that under this ruling, it is not considered a fundamental change to government when the right of Africans to marry whites, latinos, etc. is removed by popular vote. It is no longer a fundamental change to government when the right of a religion to perform a civil ceremony of two adults legally able to be married is removed.

    The ramifications now of what can be approved and eviscerated at the ballot box are startling, just startling.

    May 26, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Dave

    Thanks Cali!!!!!

    May 26, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Marcy

    Sick, the court just voted to limit rights to a minority group of Americans. How is that constitutional? What are we in the middle ages? What country is this. I am not proud.

    May 26, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    A sad triumph for bigotry.

    Ultimately, people will realize that gay marriage has no negative impact where it is allowed, and decency will prevail.

    That the religious have led the intolerance is quite sad, but as Gandhi said, "Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

    May 26, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Paul, Riverside CA

    Another sad day for Democracy.

    May 26, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Cali_Kansan

    Whoo Hoo....Hell yeah! The people have spoken.

    May 26, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. And Obama agrees with the court....

    Obama says marriage is between a man and a woman, ONLY-–

    That's your president it and weep--but then again-YOU ELECTED HIM.

    May 26, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Sara from Arizona

    Good news.

    May 26, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. The Lorax

    The will and conscience of the people has been upheld. This is not about discrimination, this is about right and wrong. We will not permit this shame to be legal. Civil unions are acceptable and just, but this is where we draw the line.

    May 26, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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