California To Permit Same-Sex Marriage (at least for now)

Click In Re Marriage and you'll see the 172 page opinion from the Supreme Court of California today. Marcia Oddi at Indiana Law Blog posts:

Here is a report by Bob Egelko of the San Francisco Chronicle on this morning's ruling. The story begins:

10:31 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry in California, the state Supreme Court said today in a historic ruling that could be repudiated by the voters in November.

In a 4-3 decision, the justices said the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates the "fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship." The ruling is likely to flood county courthouses with applications from couples newly eligible to marry when the decision takes effect in 30 days.

The celebration could turn out to be short-lived, however. The court's decision could be overturned in November, when Californians are likely to vote on a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. Conservative religious organizations have submitted more than 1.1 million signatures on initiative petitions, and officials are working to determine if at least 694,354 of them are valid.

If the measure qualifies for the ballot and voters approve it, it will supersede today's ruling. The initiative does not say whether it would apply retroactively to annul marriages performed before November, an omission that would wind up before the courts.

Family Law Prof Blog highlighted this quote from the opinon, "In the present case, it is readily apparent that extending the designation of
marriage to same-sex couples clearly is more consistent with the probable
legislative intent than withholding that designation from both opposite-sex couples
and same-sex couples in favor of some other, uniform designation. In view of the
lengthy history of the use of the term “marriage” to describe the family
relationship here at issue, and the importance that both the supporters of the 1977
amendment to the marriage statutes and the electors who voted in favor of
Proposition 22 unquestionably attached to the designation of marriage, there can
be no doubt that extending the designation of marriage to same-sex couples, rather
than denying it to all couples, is the equal protection remedy that is most
consistent with our state’s general legislative policy and preference."