California High Court set to rule on gay marriage

Phyllis Lyon (left) and Del Martin, lesbian activists who have been together for over 50 years, embrace during their marriage ceremony at San Francisco City Hall in 2004. (Chronicle photo by Liz Mangelsdorf )

It’s a beautiful, balmy evening here in the east bay, but the mood in my neighborhood is uncharacteristically quiet, even somber. In a few hours, the California Supreme Court will publicly rule on the legality of this state’s ban on gay marriage. The tension is palpable.

In 2004, in a remarkable act of civil disobedience, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed thousands of gay and lesbian couples to wed before the courts stepped in and disallowed the marriage licenses. Debate has been raging ever since, with civil rights activists and SF city officials challenging the state family code law that restricts marriage to a man and a woman, and a SF trial judge declaring the ban unconstitutional. In 2006, a conflicted appeals court upheld the ban, stating that it should be up to voters or legislators to legalize same-sex marriages, rather than judges.

Conservative interest groups and the state attorney general are defending the ban, and the justices have remained divided. It could go either way. Regardless of what happens at 10am, Pacific Standard Time, it’s going to be a historic day.

Fingers crossed, everyone.

EDIT (12:15pm, 03/15/08): WOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!

11 Responses to “California High Court set to rule on gay marriage”

  1. DJ Velveteen Says:

    Worst is that we here on the ground just have to flip a coin on this. I imagine that this is the same teeth-grinding that suffragettes and racial egalitarians had to deal with, and I take a little hope that society inevitably grinds forward… but still, can we just get on with the progress already?

  2. modchen Says: !

  3. Nadya Says:



  4. Zoetica Says:


  5. David Forbes Says:


    It’s a damn good start.

    *smiles for a very, very long time*

  6. Tequila Says:

    Excellent news…now lets hope it sticks!

  7. Mark Says:

    I shall this very minute bellow gleefully from the rafters on your collective behalf.

    FUCK anybody who opposed this. And not in a matted hair/sticky glow sort of way, mark me.

    Well done, California. From Manchester, I salute you. :)

  8. Erica!!! Says:

    I really hope it sticks. It is the most fucked up thing ever to jerk people around the way they have been. “Yae! you’re married!”
    “oh, wait. nevermind. we forgot that you aren’t people. you’re marriages are all no longer legal.”
    “oops, we were wrong. go ahead and get married.”
    hopefully nothing comes of the conservative initiatives the sf gate article was talking about/

  9. cappy Says:

    I guess I’m just too damned libertarian for my own good, because I think both the law banning gay marriage AND the resulting overturning by the courts are wrong.

    I’m not in favor of gay marriage, however, I’m not in favor of straight marriage, either! Boffo!

    (Civil unions for all. Why should the government have a say in who _anyone_ should marry, gay or straight?)

  10. Erin Says:

    Cappy – Though I am pleased with this news, I do have to agree with you in large part. Instead of vying for the same marriage rights for gay individuals as straight individuals, perhaps we should be questioning why we privilege the religious institution of marriage with so many legal rights and social benefits to begin with. This is a start however..

  11. lauren Says:

    Even though I’ve seen this like 50 times when I open safari, I read this as

    “Phyllis Lyon (left) and Del Martin, active lesbians…”

    It’s early, okay?

    And by the way, YAY CALI!

    Meredith, when I come there I can legally marry you! Not saying I will, and I’m pretty sure I won’t… but it’s really cool the options available!