In a much-anticipated ruling issued Thursday, the California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Several gay and lesbian couples, along with the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups, sued to overturn state laws allowing only marriages between a man and a woman. With the ruling, California becomes the second state to allow same-sex couples to legally wed. Massachusetts adopted the practice in 2004, and couples don't need to be state residents to wed there. Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Connecticut permit civil unions, while California has a domestic-partner registration law. More than a dozen other states give gay couples some legal rights. [Several] other jurisdictions around the world have legalized same-sex marriage: Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, [New Brunswick], Ontario, and Quebec.
This from the New York Times:
The justices released the 4-3 decision Thursday, saying that domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George. The cases were brought by the city of San Francisco, two dozen gay and lesbian couples, Equality California and another gay rights group in March 2004 after the court halted San Francisco's monthlong same-sex wedding march that took place at Mayor Gavin Newsom's direction.
An appeal to the US Supreme Court is likely but this is an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING step forward for full equality in marriage rights for all US citizens! With this ruling, I believe that California will have to allow same-sex couples to marry freely in the State starting, well, now. This ruling is sure to send shockwaves across the country and will likely force the highest court in the Nation to weigh in ... which is a bit scary, considering the make up of the high court ... but still, today is a day for celebration! Woot!!!! [Source]