Marriage is a time-tested legal and social structure that defines the relationship between two adults.
In 1977, the California legislature made a special law to strip the freedom to marry from same-sex couples by changing the words “two persons” to “man and woman” in what would become our current Family Code. The law was signed by then-Governor now-Attorney General Jerry Brown.
In 2000, California voters passed Proposition 22 blocking same-sex marriages performed elsewhere from being recognized by California.
In 2005, the California legislature recognized that it is wrong to tell some people their relationships are less worthy than others, and passed the nation’s first Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.
In 2007, the California legislature crafted a law – AB 43 – that would allow lesbian and gay couples to realize their full potential within our economy and society, yet avoid the Governor’s concerns with a voter-initiated law called Proposition 22 that blocks foreign marriages.
Arnold vetoed this bill as well.
On March 8, 2008, the California State Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that will determine if Proposition 22 actually prevents same-sex marriages in California. They ruled that Proposition 22 is orthogonally opposed to the Califronia Constitution and ordered the option of marriage to be extended to same-sex couples. The first legal same-sex marriage took place on June 16, 2008, with general availabilty the next day.
The same year, a Constitutional Amendment called Proposition 8, spearheaded and funded primarally by the Morman and Catholic Churches, changed our State Constitution so that same-sex couples could be blocked from marriage. After the dust settled, the same-sex marriages that were performed in California continue to be legal marriages in California, and legal same-sex marriages performed elsewhere are considered perfectly legal in California; however the option of a California wedding was removed from same-sex couples.
On May 5, 2010, a federal judge ruled that Proposition 8, which took away the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry in California, was unconstitutional.
While waiting for an appeals court to take up the matter, several public opinion polls discovered that more Californians favor same-sex marriage than not, and that support for Proposition 8 is well below the 50% mark.