Freedom to Marry Returns to California for Same-Sex Couples
(Los Angeles) The United States Supreme Court has dismissed the final appeal in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case, better known as the Proposition 8 case, restoring the freedom to marry in California. The Court ruled by a vote of 5-4 that the proponents of Prop. 8 had no standing to bring the appeal.
The Court’s decision vacates the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and leaves in place the federal trial court ruling of Judge Vaughn Walker, who invalidated Prop. 8 in 2010, concluding that the measure violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and the fundamental right to marry.
“We have said from the beginning that the proponents of Prop. 8 couldn’t demonstrate a single way they would be harmed by loving same-sex couples marrying in California,” said John O’Connor, Equality California executive director. “Marriage will be restored imminently and we look forward to decisive leadership from our elected officials in reinstating marriage for all people in every community across the state. Today is a day for celebration.”
Marriage licenses will be granted as soon as state officials process the necessary orders. More information will be provided as it becomes available at eqca.org.
In a separate ruling, the Supreme Court held that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, meaning married same-sex couples in California and other states will have full access to federal protections and benefits.
EQCA has long worked to secure the freedom to marry in California. In 2000, Proposition 22 passed, entrenching the ban of marriage for same-sex couples. In 2004, EQCA joined four other parties challenging Prop. 22 in court, culminating in a ruling from the California Supreme Court in 2008 that banning marriage for same-sex couples violated the equal protection clause of the California constitution. For 173 days prior to the passage of Prop. 8, every loving couple in California had the freedom to marry.
While continuing its work to secure the freedom to marry in California, EQCA has also passed more than 90 pieces of legislation enlarging the protections for LGBT Californians. This includes legislation to protect LGBT youth and seniors, to combat the epidemic of bullying in our schools, to protect transgender Californians from discrimination and abuse, and to ensure that all LGBT Californians have access to affordable health care.
EQCA will remain vigilant to any challenges that may arise to threaten the freedom to marry in California.
“This decision restores the freedom to marry to California and will put the state’s laws in alignment with public opinion,” said O’Connor. “Our community and allies are ecstatic that fairness and equality prevailed today.”
EQCA is a proud member of The Breakthrough Coalition, a broad coalition of over 20 LGBT advocacy organizations that uses cutting-edge research to facilitate persuasive, one-on-one conversations about LGBT equality that have helped to positively impact public opinion on marriage and other issues.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 90 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org