The California State Supreme Court has struck down two state laws that 'limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman'; the ruling comes into effect in 30 days and was voted with a 4-3 majority. California Chief Justice, Ronald M. George, wrote the majority ruling:
"In view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship,” he wrote, “the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples."
The ruling draws on a similar ruling of six decades ago overturning the then ban on miscegentation (marriage between persons of different racial groupings) and will make California only the second US state, after Massachusetts, to permit same-sex marriage. However, rulings in California often trigger changes elsewhere in the US and, ultimately, the rest of the western world. Our Civil Partnership Act in the UK already gives people much the same rights (and obligations) as marriage confers upon heterosexual couples, but for some the use of the word 'marriage' to authenticate their relationships will undoubtedly provide additional comfort.
California gay [and Republican] blogger Boi From Troy has several posts (earliest first) which are all worth reading:
A Day of New Beginnings?
Equality for All!
"I’m going to defer on the politics of this for now and just let everyone enjoy, discuss and revel. After thirteen years, today, I am fully a Californian."
"…for the first time in history…" (by a guestblogger)
Goodbye, Mister Tonight
Video: LA Press Conference on Historic Court Decision
Some YouTube videos of the event are available here and I embed the one featuring Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for your (I hope) pleasure and information:
The implications for the forthcoming US Presidential election are discussed in this New York Times analysis (registration required); California governor Schwarzenegger has already stated he will uphold the ruling and oppose any initiative to overturn it. I suspect that this ruling, however postively I and many others may view it, will trigger the same kind of odious electioneering practices that marred the last two Presidential elections - that's perhaps a worst-case scenario, but it's as well to be prepared.