Wednesday, 27 May 2009

California Supreme Court Rejects Prop 8 Legal Challenge

American LGBT groups have reacted with anger and disappointment to the decision of the California Supreme Court to throw out the challenge to Prop 8.

Proposition 8 was the referendum passed last year by a majority of California voters that overturned the earlier decision of the California Supreme Court in the California Marriage Case that validated same sex marriages.

In the latest case, the Supreme Court held that the 18,000 same sex marriages held between the earlier decision and Prop 8 passing were valid, which gay rights activists have labelled a hollow victory.

The court held 6 to 1 that invalidating these marriages would have the effect of "throwing property rights into disarray, destroying the legal interests and expectations of thousands of couples and their families, and potentially undermining the ability of citizens to plan their lives according to the law as it has been determined by this state's highest court."
The decision is no surprise. I was able to watch the oral arguments some months ago on the internet. What was apparent to me and other legal commentators at the time, was that from the comments of the judges, this result was the most likely- Prop 8 would be upheld but existing same sex marriages would be validated.
There was an angry demonstration in San Francisco following the decision, resulting in 150 arrests
It is likely that the obvious anger in the LGBT community in California about the decision will galvanise people to organise their own referendum to alter the California Constitution to legalise same sex marriage there.

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