California Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

"First, there is no compelling reason to deny same-sex couples the ability to marry," he said. "Also, there was a separate institution that same-sex couples were confined to. That separate institution, the decision said, caused a real and lasting negative impact on same-sex couples in the state."

George's statement, according to Solmonese, "went beyond just recognizing same-sex marriage but had very strong things to say about the circumstances around it."

California is now the second state, after Massachusetts, to give gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

Kendell, whose organization filed the case four years ago on behalf of 14 lesbian and gay couples and two organizations, said, "The greatest challenge [throughout the legal process] has been realizing what is at stake and hoping desperately that the court would give the issues a fair hearing and to rule based on just the fundamental role of the court and interpretation of the law."

While expressing relief and joy at the decision, Kendell said that the fundamental arguments were irrefutable.

"When you think of basic human dignity, there is no quarrel," she said. "There is no argument, neighbor to neighbor, over whether a lesbian or gay couple choosing to make a commitment of a lifetime together should have the same recognition as anyone else."

Both Kendell and Goldberg pointed out that the court's own justices were under significant political pressure.

"Given that this court is a relatively conservative court, mostly appointed by Republican governors, my sense is that this is a ruling that signals a new beginning that supporting the right of lesbian and gay people to marry is not a fringe issue; it's a mainstream issue consistent with fundamental American values," Goldberg said.

"This is a conservative court," Kendell said. "This was, by no means, a fait accompli."

But Perkins wasn't the only opponent of the decision who spoke out today.

"I believe that the gay and lesbian community deserves to be covered under the same civil rights canopy as the rest of the citizens in state of California," said the Rev. Sam Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and advisory board member of the Alliance for Marriage. "But ... there's nothing in our Constitution or adjudicated at the federal level that has defined marriage as [a] civil right, as [a] right of every citizen."

Members of the gay and lesbian community, he added, "do not have the freedom to usurp the right of marriage from my community."

Defining marriage as a relationship "with the functionality of two participatory roles for the purpose of healthy families," Rodriguez said that he welcomed same-sex couples to "create another system" to serve the function of marriage.

But today's decision, he said, "hijacked democracy, usurped the will of the people ... and was an assault on the institution of family."

Jennifer Chrisler, a lesbian mother of two and executive director of the Family Equality Council in Massachusetts, is married and raises two twin boys with her partner in Massachusetts. She believes that the best evidence in the case for same-sex marriage is the existence of married, productive same-sex couples.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...