Equality California
Marriage in California

California’s Historic Marriage Case

A Victory for Marriage

Same-Sex Couples Won the Freedom to Marry

The California Supreme Court on May 15, 2008, ruled that all Californians have the freedom to marry. The landmark decision ended the state ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Same-sex couples were able to marry from June 16, 2008, through November 4, 2008, when Proposition 8 passed.

  • Read the Supreme Court's decision>
  • Read the press release>
  • Photos from the first two days of weddings> from Bilerico Project
    All photos are free for download and use. Photos courtesy of Storm Bear (The Bilerico Project), Cynthia Laird (Bay Area Reporter), freelance journalist Rex Wocker, Mona DeCrinis (Palm Springs Bottom Line), Denise Penn (Lesbian News), Fred Palmer (Outward Magazine), and Karen Ocamb (IN LA Magazine).

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released the following statement on May 15, 2008, regarding the state Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage:

    “I respect the Court’s decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling. Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.” 


The Legal Team

Fifteen same-sex couples, Equality California and Our Family Coalition were represented in the marriage case by lead counsel from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, along with Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, Heller Ehrman LLP and the Law Office of David C. Codell.


Case History: Same-Sex Couples Marry in San Francisco

In early 2004, the City of San Francisco began issuing marriage certificates to gay and lesbian couples at City Hall. The historic move, prompted by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, drew thousands of committed couples from across the state and nation who wanted to validate their relationships. More than 4,000 couples married in San Francisco that winter.

In March of that year, the California Supreme Court invalidated the marriage licenses of each couple married in San Francisco. Almost immediately, a lawsuit was filed, challenging the state law that excludes same-sex couples from marriage.




Press Releases


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