Seventy-one percent of Americans support same-sex couples having the right to marry. This is true regardless of their political affiliation. This level of acceptance is unprecedented. Now, lawmakers have introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5. This would change the language in the California constitution to protect same-sex couples, making same-sex marriage a basic right in California.
California has been at the forefront of the fight for marriage equality for decades. The state granted domestic partnerships to same-sex couples in 1999, making it one of the first to do so. In 2008, it became the second state to legalize same-sex marriage.
In 2008, California passed a law that allowed same-sex couples to marry legally. This brought a great sense of joy and accomplishment to the LGBTQ+ community. But, unfortunately, the state's victory in 2008 was short-lived.
Proposition 8 was passed shortly after, taking away the right for same-sex couples to marry. As the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal in California on May 15, 2008, Proposition 8, passed later that year, had the effect of reversing the court's ruling and banning same-sex marriage. It was not until the Supreme Court's ruling in 2013 that same-sex couples could marry again in the state.
The Supreme Court initially heard an appeal concerning same-sex marriage. However, the Court dismissed it on jurisdictional grounds. The appellants had hoped that the Court would support Proposition 8, which would revoke same-sex couples' right to marry. In 2013, however, SCOTUS' 5-4 decision allowed same-sex marriages to resume in California.
Watch the video below for a look back at Proposition 8 and SCOTUS' dismissal of the appeal.
A lingering effect
Though progress has been made in California, the state's constitution still contains discriminatory language from Proposition 8 toward the LGBTQ+ community. Lawmakers are now taking steps to amend this language. The amendments would erase all discriminatory language from Proposition 8. In addition, they would ensure same-sex couples are entirely accepted in California.
Discriminatory language in propositions can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects on specific groups of people. Such language can reinforce and perpetuate stereotypes, leading to the marginalization of those individuals and groups.
The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) currently prohibits the enforcement of Proposition 8. However, a future ruling could override this, enabling the discriminatory language to be enforced again. The impact of this would be devastating for marginalized people and groups. In addition, they would have limited legal options to fight against discrimination.
The proposed amendment to California's constitution would guarantee marriage equality for everyone. This includes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. This is not just a matter of fairness and equality but also of fundamental human rights.
Watch the short video below to learn more about the ways to amend or revise the California Constitution.
Why this change matters
Marriage equality is the right for all individuals to marry, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. This recognition is an essential part of a just and equitable society.
It acknowledges the inherent dignity and worth of every person. As Assemblymember Evan Low stated, "Marriage equality is a fundamental right. Everyone should have the right to marry someone they love and build a life together, regardless of gender."
This right should be protected and defended, essential to developing strong, healthy communities. Marriage is a legal protection and social support system. It should be accessible to all individuals, regardless of gender.
This will provide them with the same rights and privileges that marriage offers. This will ensure LGBTQ individuals are not discriminated against. They will have the same rights as heterosexual people. Marriage equality is crucial to ensuring everyone is treated with respect and dignity.
California lawmakers are sending a strong message of inclusion and equality. They are introducing this new language at the beginning of Pride Month. Pride Month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and its contributions to society. However, it is also a reminder that there is still work for full equality.
The proposed amendment is just one step in that journey, but an important one nonetheless. This is a step towards creating a fairer and more equal society. Everyone should have the chance to flourish and be their authentic selves.
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