SAN FRANCISCO — Marriage equality proponents and critics alike likely passed a jittery few days this Memorial Day weekend following the California Supreme Court’s announcement Friday that it will issue its long awaited rulings on Prop. 8, the November ballot measure that banned gay marriage in the Golden State, next Tuesday morning.
Proponents say while they’re hopeful the court will strike down the proposition as an illegal revision (as vs. ‘amendment’) of the California Constitution, they will be ready to begin preparations for another measure designed to overturning the ban that would ostensibly appear on the 2010 or 2012 election ballot.
“While we are optimistic the California Supreme Court will rule in favor of marriage equality, the Courage Campaign and other organizations have been building the infrastructure necessary to win or defend marriage equality rights at the ballot box. If the court upholds Proposition 8, the organizations involved in the marriage equality movement will need to determine whether to support placing an initiative on the ballot in 2010 or 2012,” said Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of the 700,000-member Courage Campaign, an Internet-based net- and grassroots progressive group. “While the tide is turning nationally, restoring marriage equality to California will not be easy. But we know in our hearts that time is on our side, that justice will prevail, and that equality will be ours,”
Court officials said Friday that the rulings on Strauss v. Horton, S168047; Tyler v. State of California, S168066; City and County of San Francisco v. Horton, S168078, will all be released at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The actual opinions will be available to read online at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/.
Tuesday’s decision will also finally clarify whether the 18,000 gay marriage licenses that have been issued in the state since last May (and some cases, earlier) remain legal. It was in May 2008, however, that the California Supreme Court issued a critical ruling saying that the same-sex marriage licenses issued by the city of San Francisco beginning in 2004 were legal and enforceable. That decision, in turn, set the scene for opponents of gay to bring Prop. 8 to the ballot box last November. California voters passed the initiative with 52.2 percent voting yes and 47.7 percent voting no.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of the ruling, gay rights advocates said they are busy planning events that will either be celebrations or protests in 40 locations across the state as part of a so-called “Day of Decision” program.
“We will protest of the court upholds Prop 8, and invalidates the 18,000 same-sex marriage licenses that California already issued (or whether) the court upholds Prop 8, but (also) upholds the 18,000 same-sex marriages already performed, which would be a cruel, but phyrric victory for equality. We will celebrate if the court rejects Prop. 8 and says that same-sex couples are entitled to the marriage rights that heterosexual couples already have,” Day of Decision founders Robin Tyler and Andy Thayer said in an announcement released Friday morning.
Follow Jeff Mitchell’s political journalism at BAPolitix.org