It was less than five years ago when the California Supreme Court voided numerous same-sex marriages for San Francisco couples. On voiding the 4,000 marriages, which were approved by San Francisco's mayor, the court determined that state law defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Starting today, the court has changed its tune, as thousands of gay couples rejoice. However, many are questioning if the various outraged conservatives will find a way to bypass the court’s ruling.
Ultimately, the court decided there are no specific laws limiting marriage to a man and a woman and likened the ban to the antiquated interracial marriage bans. Chief Justice Ronald M. George stated that, "In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation...". Although Chief Justice George spoke for the majority of the court, the decision to pass this marriage allowance was tight, a 4-3 vote to be precise. Other Justices, such as Marvin R. Baxter, feel that this interpretation is too radical and do not agree with the majority’s decision.
Despite the celebrating, many couples are already concerned this window of opportunity will close shortly. Opponents of gay marriage may ask the high court to reconsider its decision, while others are formulating certain restrictions to be added. Meanwhile, conservatives are trying to organize a new constitutional amendment that would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision and ban gay marriage. James Dobson, chairman of the conservative Christian group “Focus on the Family” stated in an email, “It will be up to the people of California to preserve traditional marriage by passing a constitutional amendment. ... Only then can they protect themselves from this latest example of judicial tyranny.”
Will Californians decide to uphold "traditional" marriages or embrace gay marriage as a long-time neglected human right? It is to be seen at the polls this November how this victory will ultimately pan out, but with an estimated 92,000 same-sex couples in California, there is a very good chance gay marriage is here to stay.