Friday, 16 May 2008

History in making: California legalises same-sex marriage

News of The Day

AP: The California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved gay marriage ban Thursday in a ruling that would make the nation's largest state the second one to allow gay and lesbian weddings.

Petrelis Files provides with an important quote from the decision:

"[R]etaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite-sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise -- now emphatically rejected by this state -- that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects 'second-class citizens' who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples. Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest. Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."

Looking at celebrations in California, I could hardly resist my tears, tears of happiness for gay and lesbian Americans who struggled for decades to make this day happened. Importance of this decision should not be understated. California is the largest US state and its Supreme Court’s decision will have wider US and world-wide influence.

This decision is important for me for several reasons:

- Importance for gay rights movement and equality in the US and worldwide;

- Influence of this decision on California’s large Armenian Diaspora where homophobic mentality is still prevalent;

- Influence of this decision, via world headlines, US and Diaspora influences on Republic of Armenia.

Here is hoping that California’s Supreme Court landmark ruling will help to prevent tragedies similar to the one we recently witnessed within the Armenian community there, when gay Armenian in LA committed suicide after being forced into marriage.

AP calls this decision "a monumental", although warns that it could be short-lived as various national and religious groups plan to challenge it by trying to "put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November that would undo the Supreme Court ruling and ban gay marriage."

However, California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who previously "twice vetoed legislation that sought to legalize gay marriage, saying the issue should be decided by voters or the courts", says that he will uphold Court's decision: "I respect the court's decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling."

He also reiterated his previously stated opposition to an anti-gay marriage initiative proposed for the November ballot stating that he "will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."


*photo - by Getty Images, via CNN: Gay couple John Lewis, left, and Stuart Gaffney celebrate outside the California Supreme Court on Thursday.


Anonymous said...

I was expecting this here yesterday, but I am glad you got to it. I am indeed proud that I pay taxes in CA. Well, but the fight isn't over, there are only 2 states, MA and CA, that did this.

artmika said...

...and now bad news from the US voting night