Both sides await Prop 8 decision

May 15, 2009 1:07:24 PM PDT
Today is the one-year anniversary of a California Supreme Court ruling that allowed same-sex marriage - only to be struck down six months later by a voter initiative that made a ban on gay marriage part of the state constitution.

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Supporters and opponents of gay marriage are now awaiting a second State Supreme Court decision on whether the initiative itself, enacted by voters Nov. 4 as Proposition 8, was constitutional.

The court heard arguments on the case in San Francisco on March 5 and must issue a ruling no later than June 3.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, said, "The past year has been a glorious and crushing roller coaster."

Kendell said her group is "fervently hopeful" that the court will overturn Proposition 8.

In the meantime, another gay rights group, Equality California, has launched preparations for a possible ballot initiative in 2010 that would reinstate same-sex marriage in the event that the court upholds Proposition 8.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say they are prepared to battle such a measure.

Ron Prentice, chairman of Protectmarriage.com, a coalition that sponsored Proposition 8, said, "We're grateful that the people responded in November to the court's decision of a year ago."

Prentice said, "We're more energized than ever to continue to maintain traditional marriage in the law."

A total of six states now allow or are about to allow same-sex marriage.

Gay and lesbian marriages are legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa. Laws permitting same-sex marriage will take effect in Maine and Vermont in September.

On Thursday, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch said he will sign a same-sex marriage law after the state Legislature makes some changes. The New Hampshire law would go into effect Jan. 1.

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