California gays wait on marriage annulment news from Supreme Court

May 26th, 2009 - 10:49 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Tens of thousands of gay couples throughout California are anxiously awaiting a decision today by the California Supreme Court in a series of lawsuits seeking to overturn November’s Proposition 8 which could also see their marriages annulled.

If the seven-member court upholds the initiative as a constitutional expression of the electorate’s will, it also will be deciding whether to sustain the marriages of an estimated 18,000 gay couples who wed before the measure passed with 52 per cent of the vote.

Proposition 8 superseded the Supreme Court’s May 2008 ruling that legalized same-sex unions by changing the state constitution to outlaw them.

In that 4-3 decision, the court majority invalidated California’s marriage statutes, holding that denying same-sex couples the right to wed amounted to state-sanctioned discrimination.

However, skeptical questions raised during oral arguments have led legal experts to doubt the same four justices would undermine California’s powerful citizen initiative process by invalidating the new ban.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said, “many of us are heading into Tuesday filled with both hope and determination.”

Gay rights advocates have scheduled marches throughout California and in several other states for this evening to either celebrate or protest the court’s rulings.

Frank Schubert, who managed the successful Yes on 8 campaign, said, supporters have not planned any organized events to accompany the decision.

“If the court were to go as far as throwing it out, saying the people do not have the power to amend their constitution, then they are going to have to ultimately answer to the people.”

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