California backtracks on gay marriage bill

Californian voters have banned same-sex marriage just months after it was legalised by the state supreme court.

The build-up towards the November 4 ballot in which ‘Proposition 8’ was agreed upon was bitter, with much negative advertising aimed at both sides. Despite opposition from influential corporations such as Google, Yahoo, and Apple the measure passed in the state elections with 52% of the vote. The result was that the following amendment was made to the state constitution: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Voters for the proposition, funded mainly by the Mormon and Catholic churches, insisted that they fought for traditional American families. Frank Schubert, the co-manager of the ‘Yes on 8’ campaign stated, “People believe in the institution of marriage[…]It’s one institution that crosses ethnic divides, that crosses partisan divides…”

Openly gay celebrity Ellen DeGeneres commented on the ban: “America had taken a giant step towards equality” by electing Barack Obama for President but had “taken a great step away” by accepting the Proposition 8 amendment.

From 2000 a ‘domestic partnership’ had been available to same-sex couples. This changed on May 15th 2008, when the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying sexual orientation, like race or gender, “does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.” Following this ruling over 18,000 same-sex couples were wed. It was the May 15th legislation that initiated mass outrage inspiring the campaign for the Proposition 8 amendment.

Although many criticise this outlawing of gay marriage as utterly discriminatory, it must be remembered that same-sex couples are not denied all rights to legal recognition, and in most states are afforded many of the same rights as heterosexual couples. In 8 states within the USA there exists legal recognition of a domestic partnership, which does confer certain rights to the couple.

There is also the possibility of a review of the ban, with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments on three separate challenges filed in the days after the proposition passed.


  1. Charlotte states “and in most states are afforded many of the same rights as heterosexual couples. In 8 states…”. Best check your facts. The last time I checked, there were 50 states and 8 states does not make up “most states”. Most states do not allow any of the same rights to homosexuals that are provided without question to heterosexuals. For the 3 or 4 rights that homosexuals can get, it is at a cost of thousands of dollars through legal fees paid to an attorney that heterosexuals get for free because their rights are paid for by the taxes paid by homosexuals.

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  2. A civil union does not offer the same rights that a marriage does. A civil union is not the equal of a civil marriage. A civil union is only recognized in the state in which the couple resides. And a domestic partnership is only recognized on the state or local level.

    The Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office names just a few of the 1,138 benefits and protections the United States government provides to legally married couples, which are denied to partners in civil unions: Sick Leave to Care for Partner, Bereavement Leave, Access to Military Stores, Assumption of Spouses Pension, Immigration Insurance Breaks, Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner, Social Security Survivor Benefits, Tax Breaks, Veterans Discounts, Visitation of Partner in Hospital, or Prison.

    A few of the benefits denied at the state level are Assumption of Spouses Pension, Automatic Inheritance, Automatic Housing Lease Transfer, Bereavement Leave, Burial Determination, Child Custody, Crime Victims Recovery Benefits, Divorce Protection, Domestic Violence Protection, Exemption from Property Tax on Partners Death, Immunity from Testifying Against Spouse, Insurance Breaks, Joint Adoption, Joint Bankruptcy, Joint Parenting, etc.

    In addition, any benefits available to unmarried couples at the state or local level are subject to federal taxation.

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  3. Calling our committed relationships something else because it might offend people who already privately hold us and our judgement in contempt that’s not equality. Just look at all the major backers of any of bans effecting gays and lesbians and you will find that they are always looking to overturn more of our rights just look at Florida, where the backers of the ban on our marriage rights are now seeking to explicitly ban any sort of official recognized union of same sex couples or Arkansas where they have already passed multiple restrictions on same sex individuals no doubt they’d seek to re-criminalize same sex intercourse except they can’t because of the US Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. I recommend Charlotte do more research next time not that’d I’d bother reading such tripe again.

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  4. Whilst this is a terrible step backwards for freedom, it does show the power of an organised movement within a democracy. Proposition 8 was only passed because a highly dedicated and organised group of Christians took it upon themselves to ‘save’ the State of California from gay partnerships. Not only were Christians amongst the state mobilised by their churches to make sure they were aware of Proposition 8 and voted for it, but they were also encouraged to canvas their communities on the Proposition.
    Now, many Californians would have gone to the voting booth, voted for their Candidate of choice for President, and not really read up on any of the propositions on the bill. But because of this politically active Christians, they were encouraged to do the ‘right’ thing, where they normally would have just made up their minds on the day.

    Though it makes one weep that the Christians mananged to convince enough people, it just goes to show, if a group of dedicated people, working in their community, managed to fight for the Proposition to be brought to a vote, and to get it actually voted in, even with as ridiculous an argument as the Christians possessed, then a rational, pro-rights movement amongst those wanting to fight for freedom should be just as effective next election.

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  5. This whole matter contrasts starkly against the Obama birth allegations, and yet is strikingly similar. Prop 8 passed by just over half of the popular vote just like Obama being elected. Legal challenges to Prop 8 started before it was even passed much the same as cases were being filed against Obama before the election. Both challenges seem headed to the Supreme Court eventually. One calls for the protection of civil rights and the other for the protection of the Constitutional requirements of the Presidency. The difference seems to be in the media coverage provided. The challenge to Prop 8 is all over the MSM whereas the allegations of Obama not being a “natural born’ citizen are starkly absent. True or not, the fact that both cases might be headed to the Supreme Court would call for a less unbalanced coverage.
    Wouldn’t it be less costly and adversarial to simply push for same sex “unions” to be recognized everywhere with the same rights as a marriage. Why push for the word “marriage”? Let ‘marriage’ stand for heterosexual relationships and ‘union’, ‘pledging’, or some other term for same sex relationships. There would still be some opposition, I’m sure, but probably far less than a majority. Using a different term for same sex relationships and gaining equal rights as those of a marriage might be the middle ground that many conservatives are willing to meet upon. Then heterosexual couples can be told they cannot be pledged, but instead they must be married.
    Some battles are best fought by giving up ground so that the battle can be fought under better conditions.

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  6. Most states? Are you kidding? If I went to TX, KS, FL, GA, NY, PA, and 38 other states and had a car accident my partner might or might not be allowed to see me as lay injured, depending on the whim of the hospital………..smells like equal rights to you?

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  7. Obviously Ms. Gregory is absolutely clueless to the federal and state laws of the USA. Also clueless that even if the Gays had 100% of the rights and priviledges that heterosexuals do on a state and federal level, it is quite dehumanizing to belittle and lessen the status of the gays relationships.

    Are you married or engaged Ms. Gregory? If so, how about if others started addressing or referring to your husband/spouse/fiance as boyfriend, special friend, lover,or longtime companion to name a few? I doub’t you would appreciate it and bet that you would correct the person. Or better yet, the next time you are out with “married friends” just replace when appropriate in conversation the words husband, wife, spouse, or fiancé with boyfriend, girlfriend, special friend, or longtime companion, etc. I would love to hear the reaction you get from them. Somehow I bet even you and your friends may then get it. There is a reason we needed stronger words for more serious relationships. The gays deserve the same.

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  8. I’m not a legal expert, but I’ve read the 150 page ruling that legalized gay marriage in California, and I read the ruling from the same court that unanimously ruled against a fertility doctor that discriminated against a lesbian couple for service. I’ve also read the three questions that the court will ask both sides in the challenge to prop 8. I expect that the court will deal a fatal blow to the opponents of marriage equality, and we’re going to have another amazing gay pride celebration in June 09′.

    Also, the author of this article distorted the truth about gay rights. She stated that gay people have the same legal rights as everyone else in this country. Yes, gay people are protected under the federal constitution against race, creed, religion, sex, etc. However, she chose to ignore the fact that sexual orientation is a class that is discriminated against. In California, the California Supreme Court, in May 08′, has added sexual orientation as a legally protected class of citizens in the California constitution. This means that laws that are passed related to a legally protected class, such as sexual orientation, are subject to extreme judicial scrutiny. Prop 8 was directly aimed at that class. This is exactly why prop 8 will fail. Rot in hell bigots/zealot pigs!

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  9. “Homophobia”, said the fecophile.

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