California Distributes Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
Special Report - June 17, 2008
June 16 marked the date that California began officially performing same-sex “marriages.” California’s distribution of marriage licenses results from the May 14, 2008 decision of the California Supreme Court, which declared the right to marry to be an inalienable civil right protected by the California State Constitution, thus overturning California’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Furthermore, the decision named “sexual orientation” as a suspect class, where it joins other categories such as gender, race, and religion. Because the Court grouped “sexual orientation” as a suspect class, one’s sexual orientation no longer prevents one from getting married.
Although North Carolina currently has a DOMA, this law can be declared unconstitutional by a court decision. Such a decision is much more likely now that California is performing same-sex marriages. Same-sex couples from North Carolina who receive marriage certificates from California are likely to return to North Carolina and demand marriage benefits. If denied, a lawsuit is the next logical step. hese lawsuits will be aimed at overturning our Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that is almost identical to the DOMA found unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court. Unlike every other southern state (except Florida, which has a marriage amendment on the ballot this fall), North Carolina has no constitutional defense against such a lawsuit.
“North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to legal attack since we are the only state in the Southeastern U.S. that has failed to take action to protect the definition of marriage in our State Constitution,” commented John Rustin, vice president and director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “All of our neighboring states have approved marriage amendments by an average passage rate of 72 percent. A recent poll by the John W. Pope Civitas institute showed statewide support for a marriage amendment in North Carolina at 71 percent, with 83 percent support among African American voters.”
Californians will have the opportunity to vote for a state marriage amendment to California’s Constitution.
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.