CA Supreme Court Ducks Responsibility, Upholds Prop 8

May 26, 2009

SAN DIEGO – In a bitterly disappointing decision, the California Supreme Court today upheld Proposition 8, the November ballot decision that denies the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples. By upholding the unconstitutional proposition, the Court has diminished its legacy as a champion of equality.

“No minority group should have to defend its right to equality at the ballot,” said David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties. “The Court’s decision jeopardizes every minority group in California.”

Since the vote on Prop. 8 in November, there has been a tidal wave of momentum in favor of full equality. Six states now embrace marriage equality for same sex couples, and several more are on the brink. “We believe that California voters ultimately will reverse this injustice at the ballot,” said Kevin Keenan, executive director of the San Diego ACLU. “California has long been a leader in standing up for equality, and we are sure it will be again.”

The one solace in the Court’s ruling was its decision to protect the approximately 18,000 couples who married before November 5. The presence of thousands of married same-sex couples across California will serve to demonstrate that marriage strengthens families and communities, and threatens no one. Although the Court split 6-1 on the main question, the vote was unanimous in its decision to keep intact the marriages of those who exchanged vows after the Court struck down the ban to same-sex marriages last May.

The ACLU contends that banning same-sex couples from marriage is unfair and illegal. Same-sex couples have the same hopes, dreams and concerns for their families as everyone else. They should be afforded the same dignity, recognition, and responsibility that come with marriage, just like everyone else.

ACLU, Lambda Legal, and countless LGBT and civil rights organizations and millions of Californians believe that marriage equality in our state is the correct, legal, and constitutional conclusion. Achieving equality always requires struggle, but in time, people always will ultimately accept that equal treatment and equal protection of the laws is the best way to protect the rights of all. The cause of marriage equality enjoys tremendous support in California.

The ACLU is holding a press conference to offer a legal analysis of the ruling, and plans for moving forward. Participants include: David Blair-Loy, legal director, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Tara Borelli, staff attorney, Lambda Legal, Lisa Sanders & Meghan Yaple, mayor’s daughter and fiancée, Jan Garbosky & Bonny Russell, married couple, Bob Nelson, SD LGBT Center board chair, Robert Gleason, SD LGBT Community Leadership Council, and Kevin Keenan, executive director, San Diego ACLU.

CA Supreme Court Decision

CSC Prop 8 decision 5-26-09.pdf

Statewide Coalition Press Release

Prop 8 statewide PR FINAL.pdf