California ban on same-sex marriage struck down

(CNN) — In a much-anticipated 4-3 ruling issued Thursday, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional

The ruling clears the way for the state to become the second to legalize same-sex marriage.

Several gay and lesbian couples — along with the city of San Francisco and gay rights groups — had sued, saying they were victims of unlawful discrimination.

A lower court ruled San Francisco acted unlawfully in issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but Thursday’s ruling overturned that decision.

“In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation,” the court said in the 120-page ruling, “and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.

“We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, 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.”

I’ve always felt that it was just plain wrong to deny gay couples involved in a committed long-term and loving relationship the same basic rights that a violent, abusive husband has simply by virtue that his wife hasn’t yet filed for divorce.

As the Court’s Opinion states:

… an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights. We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, 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.