A history of same-sex marriage laws in California.
Created by KQED on Jan 4, 2011
Last updated: 02/06/13 at 09:52 AM
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The Supreme Court announced early Friday afternoon that it will take up California's ban on same-sex marriage. The court also will decide whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people.
In an interview with ABC News' Good Morning America President Obama officially came out in support of same-sex marriage.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
Photo: A patron of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village watches President Obama announce that he now supports same-sex marriage. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling invalidating Proposition 8.
In a 2-1 decision the court writes that "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."
Lawyers supporting Proposition 8 have said they will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Photo: A group of same-sex marriage supporters gathered in front of the courthouse before the decision. Scott Shafer/KQED.
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the decision of a lower court that made the trial tapes public. The judges said "preserving sanctity of the judicial process" required reversing the lower court and keeping the tapes sealed.
Photo: Reporters watch a telecast of the Prop. 8 trial on Dec. 6, 2010. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A 9th Circuit Court panel heard oral arguments on two ancillary issues in the long-running legal battle to decide the fate of Proposition 8: Whether to release the video from the Proposition 8 trial, in which Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional; and whether Walker had a conflict of interest because he was a gay man in a long-term relationship. Judicial ethics and rules of disclosure require judges to reveal whether they have a personal interest in the outcome of a case before them. Supporters of Prop. 8 argue for that reason Judge Vaughn Walker should have disclosed he was in a long term relationship with another man -- and whether he ever intended to marry him. But several judges questioned that logic. "A married judge would never be able to hear a divorce?" asked Judge Michael Hawkins. Photo: Plaintiffs in the Prop. 8 trial. Scott Shafer/KQED
The California Supreme Court ruled that Prop. 8 proponents do have "standing" (the legal right to be a party to a lawsuit) to defend the measure in light of the fact that the attorney general and governor have declined to do so.
The case then returns to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Photo: Protesters at a hearing on Prop 8 earlier this year. Scott Shafer/KQED
The California Supreme Court agrees to take-up the issue of standing, and will decide whether the supporters of Proposition 8 have the right to continue to petition the court without state government support. Photo: File photo from 2009 of the State Supreme Court. Justin Sullivan/Getty
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that Imperial County does not having standing to pursue the case, and punts the case to the California Supreme Court to decide whether initiative supporters have the right to continue the lawsuit. The court says that it cannot rule on the law’s constitutionality until the State Supreme Court decides on the standing issue. One thing is certain: California's ban on same-sex marriage will remain in effect until all the legal issues are resolved, probably by the U.S. Supreme Court, or until voters pass another ballot measure legalizing same sex marriage in California once again. Photo: Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage protest outside of the Ninth Circuit court. Justin Sullivan/Getty
The Ninth Circuit Court hears two hours of arguments related to the case. The first hour is dedicated to whether Imperial County and Prop 8 proponents have the right to pursue a lawsuit when state officeholders have refused to intervene. Photo: Same sex couples and plaintiffs Sandy Stier, Kris Perry, Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo look on at a news conference following a hearing at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 6, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, State Attorney General Jerry Brown, and Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado refuse to defend Prop. 8, leaving Imperial County as the only government entity defending the proposition. Photo: Then state Attorney General Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Federal District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturns Prop. 8. However, he allows the voter initiative to stay in effect pending appeal. On August 12, he announces that he will lift the ban on same-sex marriage within 5 days, unless the Ninth Circuit Court intervenes, which it does. The Appeals court issues a stay, preventing same-sex marriages until it can hear the case. Thom Watson and Jeff Tabaco are domestic partners. "We're celebrating," Watson said. "We'd like to get married one day." Lisa Pickoff-White/KQED
Despite recently overturning Prop. 22, the California Supreme Court ultimately upholds the latest ban to same-sex marriage, Prop. 8. However, the court ruled that the marriages between more than 18,000 couples who were married in the time before Prop. 8 was passed remained valid. Photo: Thousands of supporters of same-sex marriage march from West Hollywood to Hollywood following the California Supreme Court ruling to uphold Prop. 8. David McNew/Getty
About 52 percent of California voters pass Prop. 8, which adds "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," to the state constitution. Since the constitution supersedes the state civil code, same-sex marriage in California is once again banned. Photo: Supporters of Proposition 8 rally during a 'Yes on 8 bus tour' stop at St. Frances X Cabrini Church. David McNew/Getty
Between the state supreme court overturning Prop. 22 and the passage of Prop. 8, about 18,000 same-sex marriage licenses were issued in California. These licenses were not invalidated. Photo: Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon are married by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in a private ceremony at San Francisco City Hall June 16, 2008 in San Francisco, California. Martin and Lyon were the first couples to be married in San Francisco as same-sex marriages become legal in California. Marcio Jose Sanchez/Getty
The California Supreme Court consolidates several cases into In re Marriage Cases, challenging Prop. 22. It rules that Prop. 22 violated the state constitution and was therefore invalid. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issues a statement pledging to uphold the ruling, and pledges to oppose Prop. 8. Photo: Stuart Gaffney and his partner John Lewis hold a California flag in front of the state Supreme Court May 15, 2008. Justin Sullivan/Getty
While the state legislature is trying to pass laws overturning Prop. 22 that altered the state's Family Code, same-sex marriage opponents gather enough signatures to put Proposition 8 on the ballot, which changes the state constitution to only allow opposite-sex marriage. Photo: Worshipers pray during a sermon at The Call, Fast and Prayer Service at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California on November 1, 2008. The central theme of the rally was for family values and a call to support California Proposition 8 which would ban same-sex marriage. Sandy Huffaker/Getty
The state legislature passes A.B. 849, eliminating the gender requirements for marriage. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoes the bill, arguing that passing the law would implicitly repeal Prop. 22, a matter that the courts were still deciding. The legislature approves another bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in December of 2006. Schwarzenegger again vetoes, in October 2007. Photo: Demonstrators deliver letters and postcards to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's office asking him not to veto a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. David McNew/Getty
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom performs same-sex marriages in San Francisco between February 12 and March 11, asserting that the state constitution’s Equal Protection Clause gives him the authority. The weddings were halted by the California Supreme Court on March 11. About 4,000 couples had been issued marriage licenses, all of which were invalidated in August by the state supreme court. Photo: Hyde Revilla and her partner Dawn Revilla stand together after applying for their marriage license at the City Hall clerk's office in San Francisco, California. Hector Mata/Getty
Proposition 22, known as the Knight Initiative, passes, restricting marriage to those between opposite-sex couples. The initiative adds Section 308.5 to the Family Code, which reads "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Photo: 'Vote No on 22' signs lie scattered around The Gay and Lesbian Center in West Hollywood, after election returns indicate that Proposition 22 would pass, banning same-sex marriage in California. David McNew/Getty