Breaking news from The San Francisco Chronicle:
(05-15) 10:55 PDT San Francisco (AP) —
In a monumental victory for the gay rights movement, the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage Thursday in a ruling that would allow same-sex couples in the nation’s biggest state to tie the knot.
Domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage, the justices ruled 4-3 in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George.
The CA Supreme Court ruling makes California the second state in the union–after Massachusetts–to legalize gay marriage.
Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Oregon all offer civil unions or domestic partnerships, which offer all of the legal benefits of marriage.
Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Maine and Washington offer domestic partnerships with some of the same legal benefits of marriage.
The court’s decision is here (PDF).
UDPATE: This court ruling is a monumental step, but the fight isn’t over. Here’s what’s going to happen next:
Challenge For Gay Rights Advocates Not Over: A coalition of religious and social conservative groups is attempting to put a measure on the November ballot that would enshrine laws banning gay marriage in the state constitution.
The Secretary of State is expected to rule by the end of June whether the sponsors gathered enough signatures to qualify the marriage amendment, similar to ones enacted in 26 other states.
If voters pass the measure in November, it would trump the court’s decision.