The California Supreme Court will rule Thursday on the legality of the state’s ban on gay marriage.
The justices today posted a notation (PDF) on the court’s Web site that the ruling in the civil rights challenge to the same-sex marriage ban will be posted at 10 a.m. Thursday. The Supreme Court heard arguments in five consolidated legal challenges in March, and had until early June to rule on the issue.
The long-awaited ruling is a crucial test of the simmering public, social and legal debate over gay marriage, triggered in 2004 when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed thousands of gay and lesbian couples to wed before the courts put a halt to the marriage licenses.
San Francisco city officials and civil rights groups then challenged a state family code law that restricts marriage to a man and a woman, as well as a 2000 voter-approved ballot initiative that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. A San Francisco trial judge declared the ban unconstitutional, but a divided state appeals court in 2006 upheld the law, concluding that it is up to the voters or Legislature to legalize same-sex marriage, not judges.
The state Supreme Court is reviewing that ruling.
I can almost hear some official-sounding voice intoning, “If there are any objections to these marriages…” Meaning the people who were married that were in San Francisco back in 2004. You can see the actual people who were married — whose marriages will either be upheld or annulled by the California Supreme Court at the Justly Married collection by Derek Powazek. (See the picture above.)
Can you imagine going to bed at night, wondering whether or not some people in black robes — who don’t even know you — are going to tell you that you’re not married. Imagine wondering if you’re going to wake up in the morning and be told that you and the person you love and share your life with are legal strangers to each other. Again.
But I will be looking out for word on the decision. When it is posted, it will be posted here. And, when I’ve had time to calm down and/or recover I’m sure I’ll have a response/reaction. And if I’m still on the floor, or still ranting and raving, check out the PFLAG blog. They’ll have responses from parents who children were married in San Francisco in 2004.
And may yet be married after the decision is posted.