May 15, 2008

The Marriage Cases

The entire opinion -- 175 pages -- can be read here, at the Supreme Court's website. I'm at work and I have some things to finish today, so at the moment I don't have time to read the whole thing in depth. But I'll give you the result real fast before getting back to work:
...we conclude that, under this state's Constituion, the constitutionally based right to marry properly must be understood to encompass the core set of basic substantive legal rights and attributes traditioanlly associated with marriage that are so integral to an individual's liberty and personal autonomy that they may not be eliminated or abrogated by the legislature or by the electorate through the statutory initiative process. ... the purpose underlying idfferent treatment of opposite-sex and same-sex couples embodied in California's current marriage statutes -- the interest in retaining the traditional and well-established definition of marriage -- cannot properly be viewed as a compelling state interest for purposes of the equal protection clause, or as necessary to serve such an interest. ... Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional.

The remedy is that Family Code § 300's limitation of marriage to a union "between a man and a woman" is stricken from the staute books, as is Family Code § 308.5 (Prop. 22, an initiative statute), and marriage is now available to same-sex couples. A writ of mandate has issued directing the appropriate state officials (including county clerks) to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

And now, I need to get back to writing a motion for a somewhat more mundane case than this, and getting ready to celebrate my anniversary dinner with my wife. I know she'll be as pleased with this decision as I am.


zzi said...


Burt Likko said...

Thank you very much!