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. Dennis

    It's interesting to note at the same time California was voting overwhelmingly for Obama, that they voted down the gay marriage law. Imagine the margin on this issue had Obama not been on the ballot. Oh, by the way Obama does not support gay marriage either.

    May 26, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Drew

    Wow, it's a surprise that the will of the people was actually upheld by the courts. Usually they disgust me, but props to them this time.

    May 26, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Mich

    Thank God, If the people vote against something they should have the last word. The federal govermant shouldn't have the right to overturn it. (if they did overturn it I was going to think I was living in Nazi germany).

    May 26, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Diana NJ

    Heart breaking decission. Hopefull it will be put again on the ballot and people will understand exactly what they are voting for or against.. and the Swift boaters are shown for who they are..

    May 26, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. Boudin

    The voters spoke, live with it

    May 26, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Sherrol in Canada

    I'd imagine some folks might want to say thanks for nothing, but at least the 18,000 remain married.

    I still can't fathom however, why all the hoopla. Gays & Lesbians are people too and should be allowed to marry if they choose. Live and let live, throw religious frenzy out the window.

    Come to Ontario Canada, get married here!!!!

    May 26, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  7. Elliebee

    AND we wonder WHY California is so screwed up and BROKE!!! it's decisions like these that are so IGNORANT on all levels. This just means this issue needs to take on the BIG LEGAL FIGHT of the Century.

    I'm so glad I don't live in California.

    May 26, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Too True For You

    So, how will the fundamentalist nut jobs reconcile this with their oft-cited belief that California is the ultimate bastion of liberal hedonism?

    May 26, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. demwit

    Oh boy! 18,000 valid gay marriages. Now we get to see how long they last compared to 18,000 straight marriages!!

    No pressure...

    May 26, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. M J

    Silly me. I actually thought California had a progressive intellect. Not anymore!

    May 26, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Ben

    This is what we get for using a weak, procedural argument against Prop 8. This is a terrible decision, but one that I think could have been avoided if we had maintained the case as a purely civil rights issue. Even so, we should take the next opportunity to vote these spineless judges out of office.

    May 26, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. RealityKing

    Obviously Miss California was right and the hate filled left was wrong...

    May 26, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. rob

    Gay Marriage will eventually be legal in all states. It's a civil right and one that can't be voted upon. Shame on you California. We'll have to leave it up to the Notheast and (Iowa!) for now... but we'll be back! 🙂

    May 26, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. suzy

    @ Les – that's a pretty stupid comment

    May 26, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Linda from Minnesota


    Please define normal. Normal to you may not be normal to others. Show some tolerance. Geez.

    May 26, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. demwit

    Its good to see that at least one California judge wants to be a Supreme Court nominee.

    May 26, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Common Sense

    Finally some common sense, let's have a vote in Massachusetts & Connecticut.

    May 26, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Joe

    "too trivial" – huh? NOT to those of which it DEEPLY affects. Of course you haters can't see beyond your stinking noses. As for those who constantly quote the bible, I'm sure I could take a look at your life and find some quote that says you're evil too.
    I, for one, believe that those against gay marriage are threatened by it because they don't want to see gay people in stable, committed relationships. First, it would fly in the face of their prejudices, and second, they couldn't watch in glory as gay people die of AIDS. THAT is what the haters REALLY want, and gay marriage threatens that.

    May 26, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. Cali J

    To those of you out there saying that this was conservatives and religeous people in California, you are wrong. California is one of the bluest states in the nation. Prop 8 was supported by Dems, Repubs, blacks, whites, yellows, and browns. This is just the will of most of the people regardless of political or religeous backgrounds. No hatred involved, just a belief that the word marriage means a man and a woman.

    May 26, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. demwit

    Since 72% of California didn't even bother to vote on this issue..., 28% of voters decided it. That'll teach ya....

    May 26, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. John in Ohio

    Sooner or later gay marriage will be legal in California. Whether it happens at the state level there before it happens country-wide at the national level remains to be seen.

    When a large majority of people 18-30 are supportive of gay marriage, it becomes a historic inevitability. Nothing can stop it. It'll happen next year, in five years, or in 35 years. The opponents will only die of old age.

    May 26, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. dave

    You put rights of a minority up for a vote, it just becomes a measure of hatred.

    May 26, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Rob

    Isn't it incredible how all the people who wanted the court to come in and step over the WILL OF A MAJORITY OF VOTERS sit here and say that democracy is dead? No, they just didn't get their way. This is a shining example of their modus operandi. They can't get a majority of people to side with them, so they turn to some radical idiot judges to overturn democracy. Now that something's backfired in their faces, they cry how there is no democracy.

    Sorry libs, guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.

    May 26, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. dave

    When you put the rights of a minority to a vote, it just becomes a measure of hatred.

    May 26, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Chris

    The voters and court spoke live with it

    May 26, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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