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Same-sex ruling stirs SCV

• State Supreme Court overturns marriage ban

Posted: May 16, 2008 2:04 a.m.
Updated: July 17, 2008 5:01 a.m.

The California Supreme Court paved the way for gay marriages after it overturned a voter-approved ban on same-sex unions on Thursday. In a 4-3 ruling, the state's highest court concluded that domestic partnerships are not a sufficient substitute for marriage.

"We were unexpectedly delighted," said David McEachern, president of the Santa Clarita chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. "For all the gay and lesbian people and their families and friends, it's a great day."

He said he knows many gay couples locally who have been waiting to have the same rights as other couples.

"If (marriage) is good enough for straight people, it's good enough for gay people," he said. "We believe marriage makes families stable."

While supporters gathered in West Hollywood and San Francisco to celebrate Thursday's ruling, several local politicians voiced their concern over the court's finding, indicating that the decision did not bring a final resolution to the issue.

State Sen. George Runner said that the high court's reversal of Proposition 22, which defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, sets a bad precedent.

"In 2000 ... Proposition 22 gave the people of California a voice in defining what constitutes marriage," said Runner, R-Antelope Valley. "It's unfortunate that four Supreme Court judges can run roughshod over the voters by overturning this important measure."

Matt Barber, Policy Director for Cultural Issues with Concerned Women of America, agreed with Runner.

"So-called ‘same-sex' marriage is counterfeit marriage," he said. "Marriage is, and has always been, between a man and a woman. We know that it is in the best interest of children to be raised with a mother and a father. To use guinea pigs in a radical, San Francisco-style social experimentation is deplorable."

County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich also took issue with the Supreme Court overturning Proposition 22.

"This is another decision where four members of the judiciary reject the will of the people who overwhelmingly voted in 2000 to ban same-sex marriage," Antonovich said. However, the court's decision does not take immediate affect, according to Registrar-Recorder and County Clerk Dean Logan.

"The ruling does not take effect immediately," he said. "The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder and County Clerk is not authorized to issue marriage licenses or to perform civil marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples at this time."

Proposition 22 passed with 61 percent of the vote in 2000.

"I am extremely disappointed in today's decision by the California Supreme Court to step outside the bounds of its duty to overturn what a majority of Californians voted to approve eight years ago," said U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon. "I realize the issue of marriage is a deeply emotional and personal one for Californians and Americans, but under no circumstance should the courts be allowed to show utter disregard for the democratic process.

"The people spoke when they democratically voted in support of Proposition 22."

After Thursday's ruling, a coalition of religious and social conservative groups indicated that they are attempting to place a measure on the November ballot to affirm the same-sex marriage ban in the state constitution.

The Secretary of State must determine whether the measure's sponsors have gathered enough signatures to place such an issue on the ballot. If the measure does pass in November, the voter mandate would overturn the court's decision and amend the state constitution.

Twenty-six other states have similar amendments. A decision by the Secretary of State is expected in June.

Not everyone disagreed with Thursday's ruling.

"We are very delighted with today's State Supreme Court ruling allowing marriage equality in America," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles. "Today's ruling is another important reminder that love will overcome."

Signal Staff Writer Katherine Geyer contributed to this report.


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