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California Supreme Court Upholds Prop. 8’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriages

But the justices also rule that couples who wed before the November vote can stay married

On a 6-1 vote, the California Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Proposition 8, the controversial ban on same-sex marriage. However, the court also ruled that the thousands of same-sex couples who were married before the election will not have their unions dissolved.

Prop. 8 went into effect after receiving 52 percent of vote in the Nov. 4, 2008, general election. It amended the California Constitution’s definition of marriage to include only the union of heterosexual couples, saying that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The initiative also eliminated the right of same-sex couples, only six months after the court struck down Proposition 22, one of a series of initiatives attempting to outlaw homosexual marriage.

“The California Supreme Court’s decision today is deeply disappointing for those of us who believe in equal rights for all people. I strongly opposed Proposition 8 because I believe that it unfairly denies the rights and privileges of marriage to all Californians,” Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, said in a statement. “While there is a small silver lining to this decision in that the court did uphold the marriages of couples who married prior to the passage of Proposition 8, we must continue to look for ways in which we can correct this injustice and ensure that all Californians can enjoy the full benefits of marriage.”

Outrage and dissent from Prop. 8 opponents — the LGBT community, its supporters and some local governments — led to lawsuits against the legislation. They argued that Prop. 8, since it denied fundamental rights to a certain population, should be considered a revision of the constitution, not just an amendment, and would require a two-thirds legislative vote instead of a simple majority to pass.

Prop. 8 supporters, meanwhile, are pleased that the initiative stands.

“We are very gratified that the California Supreme Court has upheld Proposition 8,” said Andrew Pugno, general counsel of ProtectMarriage.com, one of the staunchest supporters of Prop. 8. “This is the culmination of years of hard work to preserve marriage in California. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers worked diligently to uphold the institution of marriage. Twice, voters have decided that marriage in California should be only between a man and a woman. We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court has acknowledged the right of voters to define marriage in the California Constitution. The voters have decided this issue, and their views should be respected.”

Locally, the LGBT community is planning a rally and protest march in opposition to the rulings. At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Pacific Pride Foundation will hold a rally at the Santa Barbara Courthouse, and a protest march will start at noon Saturday at the courthouse.

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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