Dr. Avnish Jolly,17 May:Scott Long, Director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program said this decision should push the US government to stop obstructing equal treatment of relationships and families.
The California Supreme Court’s ruling today striking down state law that limits marriage to opposite-sex couples is a victory for equality that should set an example and affects the culture at global level. On May 15, by a vote of 4 to 3, the court overturned a 2000 ballot measure that had limited the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman.
The ballot measure presaged the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples by the city and county of San Francisco in 2004. The court had ordered the city and county of San Francisco in 2004 to stop issuing marriage certificate to same-sex couples, pending resolution of whether California’s restriction of marriage to different-sex couples violated the state’s constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the National Center of Lesbian Rights filed suit under the California constitution’s provisions guaranteeing equality, liberty, and privacy to all state residents.
Under the 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act,” the US government is barred from recognizing same-sex relationships. Thus the California decision will still have no effect on marriage rights under federal law.
In 2005 and again in 2007, the California legislature passed bills which would have ensured equal conduct under the law by allowing same-sex couples to marry in California. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bills both times. However, Schwarzenegger has stated he would oppose a discriminatory ballot measure this year.