As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]
by Rex Wockner
The California same-sex marriage case will be heard by the state Supreme Court on March 4.
The justices will then have 90 days to issue their ruling.
The case is a consolidation of several lawsuits challenging state law that limits marriage to opposite-sex couples. Plaintiffs include the city of San Francisco, Equality California and same-sex couples.
In 2005 and 2007, the state Legislature passed bills to legalize same-sex marriage, the only times any U.S. legislature has done so. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both bills.
California has a domestic-partnership law that grants registered gay couples all state-level rights and obligations of marriage, but the plaintiffs view domestic partnership as a separate and not-fully-equal institution.
Meanwhile, anti-gay activists are collecting voter signatures to try to put initiatives on the November ballot that would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage or both amend the constitution and undo the domestic-partnership law.
A constitutional amendment would trump laws passed by the Legislature and, amendment proponents believe, override any state court rulings legalizing same-sex marriage.
But since the marriage case itself is based on constitutional claims, “it is not clear that amending the state constitution would moot the case,” said Shannon Minter, lead lawyer for the gay side.
“It would create a conflict between different constitutional provisions and raise other complex procedural and substantive issues,” Minter said.
Massachusetts is the only U.S. state that has legalized same-sex marriage. Along with California, five other states have same-sex partnership laws that extend all or nearly all state-level rights and obligations of marriage: Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont. In addition, Maine, Hawaii, Washington and the District of Columbia have laws that extend limited spousal rights to same-sex couples.