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Same Sex Marriage in California

Same Sex Marriage in California

Same-sex marriage has been a contentious issue in the United States over the past few decades. It has caused a divide between liberal and conservative individuals, as well as between religious and non-religious communities. In California specifically, same-sex marriage has gone through a series of legal battles and changes over the years. In this article, we will explore the history of same-sex marriage in California, the current state of same-sex marriage in the state, and the potential future of the issue.

History of Same-Sex Marriage in California

The fight for same-sex marriage in California began in the late 20th century. In 1996, California passed Proposition 209, which amended the state constitution to prohibit preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. This amendment included sexual orientation, effectively banning same-sex marriage in the state. However, this did not stop activists and proponents of same-sex marriage from continuing to fight for their cause.

In 2000, Proposition 22 was passed in California, defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. This was later challenged in court, with the case eventually making it to the California Supreme Court in 2008. In a landmark decision, the court ruled that banning same-sex marriage violated the state constitution’s guarantee of equality and fairness.

This decision was met with celebration from the LGBTQ+ community and supporters of same-sex marriage. However, opponents of same-sex marriage managed to gain enough support to introduce Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to again define marriage as only between a man and a woman. This proposition passed in November 2008, overturning the California Supreme Court’s decision and once again banning same-sex marriage.

Same-Sex Marriage in California Today

Proposition 8 sparked a new wave of legal battles over same-sex marriage in California. Opponents of the proposition sued, claiming that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. In 2010, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, stating that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.

However, this was not the end of the legal battle. Appeals were made all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately decided in 2013 to strike down Proposition 8, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in California once again.

Today, same-sex marriage is legal in California and has been for several years. However, this does not mean that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is over. Discrimination and prejudice still exist, and there are ongoing battles for equal treatment under the law in areas such as adoption, employment, and housing.

Current Issues and Controversies

While same-sex marriage is legal in California, there are ongoing issues and controversies surrounding the LGBTQ+ community in the state. Some of these include:

Conversion Therapy: California has banned conversion therapy, a controversial practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The law has faced legal challenges and has yet to be fully enforced, with some claiming that it violates freedom of speech and religion.

Discrimination in Schools: Despite anti-discrimination laws, LGBTQ+ students in California still face discrimination and harassment in schools. This has led to calls for stronger enforcement of existing laws and new laws specifically addressing discrimination in schools.

Healthcare Access: Transgender individuals often lack access to affordable healthcare, including hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgery. While California has made progress in this area, there is still work to be done to ensure that all individuals have access to the healthcare they need.

The Future of Same-Sex Marriage in California

While same-sex marriage is currently legal in California, there is always the possibility that it could be challenged or overturned in the future. With the change in political climate and administration at the federal level, there are concerns that LGBTQ+ rights may be rolled back or limited.

However, there are also many reasons to be hopeful about the future of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights in California. The state has a long history of being a progressive leader in the United States and has shown a commitment to protecting the rights of all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.


The issue of same-sex marriage in California has been a long and complicated one, with many legal battles and changes over the years. While same-sex marriage is currently legal in the state, there are ongoing battles for full equality and protection under the law for LGBTQ+ individuals. The future of same-sex marriage and LGBTQ+ rights in California is uncertain, but there is hope that the state will continue to be a leader in progressive policies and protections.


Same-Sex Marriage in California

The debate over same-sex marriage in California has remained a pressing issue in the United States since 2004, and decisions by the Supreme Court are still addressing the constitutionality of banning same-sex marriages.
The first same-sex marriage occurred in February of 2004 in California, but a large amount of legislation quickly followed to once again ban same-sex marriages.

Proposition 22

On March 7, 2000, the state of California voted on the Proposition 22 to enact a “Defense of Marriage Act” in the state.  The proposition passed and was adopted by 52 of California’s 58 counties.  The San Francisco Bay area did not adopt proposition 22, including the following counties: Alameda county, Marin, San Francisco county, Santa Cruz county, Sonoma county, and Yolo county.  The first same-sex marriages occur in San Francisco in 2004.

In the same year, California’s Supreme Court heard a case that San Francisco overstepped its authority.  The Supreme Court ruled that the same-sex
marriage in San Francisco were void.

In Re-Marriage Cases

Proponents of same-sex marriage in California declared the Supreme Court’s decision unconstitutional.  In April of 2005, the San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer ruled, in favor of same-sex marriage and stated the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples violated their right to marry.

The California Supreme Court granted review on December 20, 2006, and arguments were heard on March 4, 2008.  On May 15, 2008, the Supreme Court challenged the constitutionality of state laws that deny same-sex marriage and made its final decision on June 16, 2008 at 5 p.m.  Same-sex couples were allowed to start applying for marriage licenses on June 17, 2008.

Proposition 8

Marriage licenses were only issued until November of 2008 when proposition 8 passed.  The proposition was upheld by the Supreme Court, but the state did not overturn same-sex marriages that were already licensed.

Proposition 8 has continued to make its way up through the court system since its installment in November of 2008.  The case moved to the U.S.

Supreme Court, and the Court initially decided to rule on the case or not.  If the Court wouldn’t have ruled on the case, Proposition 8 would have been dismissed and same-sex marriage in California would once again be legal.  However, the U.S. Supreme Court has announced that it will decide on the constitutionality of Proposition 8.  It will also review challenges of the Defense of Marriage Act, even though the case was struck down by the state of New York.

The Supreme Court is set to review the cases on November 20, 2012.

The Debate

Proponents of same-sex marriage in California argue that the banning of marriage rights intrudes on rights under the Fourteenth Amendment for equal access to liberty and laws.  Opponents argue that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman and should thus remain between a man and a woman.