Calif Court Invalidates Weddings of Gay & Lesbian Couples for Now, Does Not Rule on Constitutionality of Marriage Ban

The California Supreme Court today invalidated the marriages of more than 4,000 same-sex couples, ruling that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom lacked the authority under state law to allow such marriages. The Court did not rule on whether the state’s prohibition on marriage for gay and lesbian couples violates the state constitution, the position taken by Mayor Newsom and the city. That issue is being litigated in other cases still working their way through the courts.

“While today’s ruling is heartbreaking for thousands of committed gay and lesbian couples and for their friends and families, it is far from the final word on the struggle toward full equality,” said People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas. “Our nation’s history is a story of steady progress achieved by people working together to eradicate discrimination from our laws and institutions. Every battle against discrimination has encountered resistance. Every fight for equality has faced setbacks. But the deeply rooted American values of freedom, fairness, and equality under the law will be victorious in the end.”

“The weddings performed in San Francisco earlier this year put a human face – thousands of loving faces – on the issue,” said Neas. “Americans saw real people with real families that need and deserve the stability and legal protections that only marriage provides.”

Neas said that today’s ruling did not affect the legal protections that gay couples in California can access through the state’s domestic partnership laws, but noted that those rights and protections still fall far short of those provided by legal marriage.

People For the American Way, a civil rights and constitutional liberties organization with 675,000 members and supporters nationwide, supports full legal equality for GLBT Americans and strongly opposes efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to require that states discriminate against gay couples seeking to get married.

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