In California the status of same sex marriage is unique. Formerly, California granted marriage licenses to same sex couples but it no longer does. This is something that none of the other 50 states have ever done. They did this from June 16, 2008 through November 5, 2008. It began with California’s Supreme Court instating the equal protection argument but ended with the passage of Proposition 8.”Marriage” As Defined By Proposition 8
According to Proposition 8, marriage is an institution between two people of the opposite sex (i.e. a man and a woman). By establishing this restrictive definition, Proposition 8 overturned the California Supreme Court’s ruling that stated same sex couples could be married. The wording in Proposition 8 is the same as is found in Proposition 22.Proposition 22
According to Proposition 22 (a.k.a. the California Defense of Marriage Act or the Knight Initiative since it was authored by state senator William “Pete” Knight) marriage can only take place between a man and a woman. It was enacted on March 7, 2000 after a voter support showing of 61%.
Many people were surprised by this large margin of victory since a field poll that was taken immediately before the election estimated that only 53% people would support it and 7% would be undecided. However, the California Supreme Court then struck it down because they said that it was against the state’s constitution.
Even though this Proposition was brief (only adding 14 words to the Family Code), it provoked quite the debate. In fact, this debate raged on long after the proposition’s passage. Section 308.5 Of The Family Code
In this section we read, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” If this was considered to be inconsistent with the state’s constitution, it could be struck down since it was only an ordinary statute. This is precisely what happened on May 15 in the ruling “In Re Marriage Cases,” which declared that same sex couples did have a constitutional right to get married. As such, Proposition 22 was invalidated by a ruling of 4 to 3.