California Senate OKs Constitutional Amendment to Officially Repeal Defunct 2008 Measure Banning Same-Sex Marriages

Gavel with open book and scales on table

Gavel with open book and scales on table

By The Vanguard

SACRAMENTO, CA – A proposed constitutional amendment to repeal a 2008 measure approved by voters to ban the state from recognizing same-sex marriages was passed by the California Senate earlier this month.

Although most of the Senate’s eight Republican members did not take a position, it overwhelmingly was OK’d, according to an NBC News report.

The law has been dead for nearly 10 years after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 “cleared the way for same-sex marriage in the state. But it remains on the books and can only be removed by voters,” reported NBC.

Now, California voters will decide in 2024 whether to put the right to same-sex marriage in the state constitution, and permanently remove an inactive ban on same-sex marriage that they approved in 2008.

“What we are doing today is joyous,” said Sen. Scott Wiener (D-SF), adding, “What the voters, I believe, will do next year is joyous. This is about recognizing the fundamental humanity of all 40 million Californians,” NBC News reported.

“Wiener and Democratic Assemblymember Evan Low, both members of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, introduced the legislation after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year that overturned the right to an abortion, putting the fates of other previously decided rights into uncertain territory,” NBC News said.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said at the time the court should reconsider its rulings on prominent cases such as the 2015 decision requiring states to recognize and issue licenses for same-sex marriages. 

NBC said, “In an emotional debate on the Senate floor, lawmakers said the proposed amendment was long overdue. Democratic Sen. Caroline Menjivar, who is lesbian, fought back tears while sharing a story about her family members refusing to attend her wedding.”

“This vote goes beyond faith. It goes to the damage it causes to me and my LGBTQ+ families and California took the national spotlight in 2004 when then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though it was illegal at the time. The move was controversial even among Democrats and was halted by a court. Then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a subsequent legislative attempt to legalize gay marriage. Then voters in 2008 passed Proposition 8,” the lawmaker said.

California Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Sacramento) said he didn’t vote on the proposed amendment for religious reasons. 

“I truly, truly love so many of you that have lost your rights,” he said, referring to his LGBTQ colleagues. “This is about me. It’s not about our relationship. It’s about what I think I need to do in my faith,” according to the NBC News reporting.

But Sen. Steve Padilla (D-SD) said the vote was not about personal religious beliefs, but “whether the government we serve in a pluralistic society with many faiths treats us all equally before the law.”

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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