The battle to protect marriage in California continues to rage. In 2000, 61.4 percent of voters chose to add “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” to the Family Code. Last May, the California Supreme Court struck down the law 4-3. The court contended that calling a heterosexual relationship marriage while referring to a homosexual relationship as a domestic partnership “poses at least a serious risk of denying the family relationship of same-sex couples such equal dignity and respect.”
After the decision, over a million Californians signed a petition to put the language on the ballot as a constitutional amendment. On November 4, 2008, Proposition 8 passed with 52 percent of the vote. The new amendment was challenged, and the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 in a 6-1 ruling on May 26, 2009. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. Existing homosexual marriages performed before the passage of Proposition 8 will stand.
Denying homosexuals use of the term “marriage” does not violate their constitutional rights, said the court (emphases in original):
Contrary to petitioners’ assertion, Proposition 8 does not entirely repeal or abrogate the aspect of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right of privacy and due process. … Instead, the measure carves out a narrow and limited exception to these state constitutional rights, reserving the official designation of the term “marriage” for the union of opposite-sex couples as a matter of state constitutional law, but leaving undisturbed all of the other extremely significant substantive aspects of a same-sex couple’s state constitutional right to establish an officially recognized and protected family relationship and the guarantee of equal protection of the laws.
Practically speaking, there is homosexual “marriage” in California. Gays may form legally recognized domestic partnerships with “largely equivalent substantive rights.” They enjoy similar protections and benefits as heterosexual married couples. Despite access to the same constitutional protections as everyone else, as well as the rights and benefits of marriage, homosexuals who oppose Proposition 8 are not satisfied. Until Christ returns, they’ll continue waging court battles and drafting ballot initiatives.
The California Supreme Court has left us with a grand mess, and the slope just got more slippery. It was the court’s earlier decision, however, that signaled the eventual end of marriage as we know it and the subversive adoption of the term by people in incestuous and polygamous relationships.