State ban on gay marriages will go before voters this November

A petition filed last month by groups supporting same-sex marriage that would have prevented a November ballot initiative defining marriage as between a man and woman from going to the voters will not be heard by the California Supreme Court.

The justices’ unanimous decision, announced Wednesday, means the referendum against gay marriage will stay on the ballot barring further legal action. It also clears the way for Secretary of State Debra Bowen to print voter information pamphlets on the issue. The court did notissue a statement in addition to the order, according to court spokeswoman Lynn Holton.

The referendum seeks to amend California’s constitution to ban same-sex nuptials in the state. It would overrule a May decision by the state Supreme Court that said current laws against gay marriage violate the state’s constitution.

Equality California, an advocacy group that supports gay marriage rights, filed a petition on June 20 to keep the initiative off the ballot, arguing that the measure would be a state constitutional revision, not an amendment, and would therefore require more elaborate procedures for passage.

Equality California also maintained the initiative was misleading because petition signers were told last fall and winter — prior to the state Supreme Court’s decision — that the measure would make no change to the manner in which marriage is recognized in California

Equality California was joined by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union in its petition.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which fought Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to allow same-sex marriages in 2004 and fought the marriage equality case in California Supreme Court, legally argued against removing the gay marriage ban from the ballot.

“Equality California and its allies were desperate to evade the democratic process,” Senior Legal Counsel Brian Raum said in a statement. “They already used the courts to erase the votes of nearly 5 million Californians who voted to protect marriage.”

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Chelsea Hung, who owns Washington Bakery and Restaurant in Chinatown with her mother, said the restaurant is only making about 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenues. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Chinatown’s slow recovery has business owners fearing for the future

Lack of outside visitors threatens to push neighborhood into ‘downward spiral’

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

Jazz pianist and composer Jon Jang is an instructor at Community Music Center in the Mission District. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Jon Jang composes bittersweet symphonies

Musician-activist’s works are steeped in civil rights history

Keith Doran, left, and the author celebrate a short but successful outing on El Capitan. (Courtesy photo)
Climb on: 50 lessons in 50 years, part 3

Series offers tips for adventurers seeking fulfillment outdoors

Most Read