California Supreme Court Invalidates Same Sex Marriages

Nearly 4,000 marriages performed in San Francisco this spring for same sex couples were nullified by a California Supreme Court ruling Thursday. The ruling found that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom did not have the authority to singularly interpret laws prohibiting same sex marriage, deem them unconstitutional, and thus legalize same sex marriage. The court’s opinion was quick to state that it was not ruling on the legality of same sex marriage or the constitutionality of state laws that prohibit it. Rather, Thursday’s ruling was limited to an examination of the power of local officials in interpreting the law. The practical effects of this ruling, however, are not limited to a clarification of administrative power. Some newly-married same sex couples have used their legal status to enhance their workplace and other benefits, according to the Washington Post. These new benefits may be endangered by the court’s decision. States around the country are considering the issue of same sex marriage this fall. Laws prohibiting same sex marriage in Oregon and Washington have been struck down by judges in those states, reports the Washington Post. Voters in Missouri passed a ballot measure amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage just last week, and 11 states will vote on similar amendments in November. A national constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman failed to pass the Senate a month ago due to a Democratic filibuster. JOIN the Feminist Majority


Washington Post 8/13/04; California Supreme Court decision 8/12/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 7/15/04

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