On May 15, the California state Supreme Court overturned a state law that forbid same-sex couples from legally getting married. In its 4-3 decision the court said that the law restricting marriage to opposite gender couples violated same-sex individuals’ rights to equal protection under the state constitution.
The court’s decision makes California the second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. The court was ruling on a law California voters passed in 2000, which restricted marriage to heterosexual couples.
The controversry over marriage for same-sex couples erupted in 2004 when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom legalized marriage for same-sex couples in his city. Thousands of people got married, although later that year a lower court in California said Newsom acted without proper authority and ruled that those marriages weren’t legal.
The Supreme Court’s decision reverses the lower court’s ruling and legalizes marriage for same-sex couples. Weddings could be held as early as mid-June.
I am openly gay and finding out that the California Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is now legal made me very happy. When I heard I basically tossed the phone, ran out of the house and yelled down the block, “I can get married!” The adrenaline rush that I got and all the happiness that went through my body was inexplicable. I felt as if I was the king of the world and that I could finally express who I am. After being silenced for so many years and being insulted all the time, I can walk down the road and be proud of who I am. To see even those who are not gay support the cause made me cry.
If there are those that are getting ready to protest against this ruling, I am ready to get out there and fight to keep it. I have been silent for such a long time because of others’ harassment that I will not succumb to it. I will get out there to get my voice heard. This decision has made me the happiest kid in the world. All I have to say now is to all those who are gay, don’t be ashamed and stand your ground with pride. And to all those who are straight, thank you for those who support this. Being gay is not a disease. I am also human and I am just like everyone else, I just have a different sexual preference. I am queer and I’m here and I’m not planning to go anywhere and trust me I’ll be fighting until the end.
Richard Aviles, 17, Foshay Learning Center
My school is very accepting of gay and lesbian couples, so when I heard about the ruling it felt right. The court’s values are beginning to match our generation’s more open points of view.
Alana Folsom, 17, Marshall HS
I never supported same-sex marriage and my friends have held the same view. We discussed the issue during lunch Friday. Not surprisingly, I found that most people at my school opposed the ruling. I think it was because they were mostly influenced by their parents’ views of this issue (all my friends are Asian so their parents are Asian and they hold very conservative views) and because of religious reasons. Both of those cases are factors in my opposition, however the main reason for my disapproval comes from my internal sense of morality. Many people who approve of homosexuality say that people have their own right to pursue happiness and the things that make them happy. However, just because a certain thing satisfies people’s wants, does that justify it? Just because it is the will of the majority does not automatically make it “right.” I strongly believe that we should question the morality of this decision and consider what this ruling will bring to our future generations.
Elliot Kwon, 15, Palos Verdes Peninsula HS
When I heard that the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, I was very excited, but also I wondered what took so long. I lived in the San Francisco area when the mayor of San Francisco legalized gay marriage in the city in 2004 and since then I have always thought that gay marriage should be legal in the state of California.
Many teachers at my school are openly gay and I am so happy that now they can get married to their partners. Hopefully the rest of the country will follow California’s lead and legalize gay marriage across the nation.
Casey Peeks, 16, Marlborough School
I am a supporter of same-sex marriage but I am not a lesbian. Why should we be against it when it has nothing against straight people? It is the same as ‘normal’ marriage.
Bella Chen, 14, Chaparral MS
The ruling did surprise me—in a good way. I’m glad that more attention is being put on civil rights. This seems like the right time since we have more young citizens involved in these issues who will have an influence in spreading it nationwide.
Solange Rubio, 17, Leuzinger HS (Lawndale)
With the California Supreme Court ruling, hopefully it will be easier for the whole nation to inch toward recognizing straight and gay married couples alike.
Javier Rodriguez, 16, Kennedy HS (Granada Hills)
I believe the California gay marriage ruling is overdue for such a liberal state. It seems incredibly late when compared to the 2004 Massachusetts decision. Here, GAY is the norm. Here, the verdict is a victory.
Marriage in California is now the voluntary union of two persons as spouses. People opposing same-sex marriage have an issue with whether marriage is secular or religious. No matter what the answer is, I believe homosexual relationships should be legally recognized. This way gays and lesbians can have the same marriage rights heterosexual spouses do.
I realize people do not just get married for practical benefits. Many gay and lesbian couples get married solely for religious reasons. Being able to say they are married to their same sex wives and husbands, shows their governments and religions have accepted their beliefs. I believe same-sex couples that follow a religion that call a union of two people who love each other a marriage, should have the right to do the same with their relationship; because all people are equal.
The ruling takes the pressure off of married gays and lesbians in Massachusetts; they are no longer the case study. More than 10,000 gay and lesbian couples have wed since the court redefined marriage in Massachusetts. Though married same-sex couples in Massachusetts still face opposition, last June lawmakers voted 151 to 45 against a measure that would have placed an amendment barring same-sex marriage on the state ballot.
I hope a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions in California does not make the November ballot.
Alex Key, 16, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies
For the latest developements on this issue, L.A. Youth recommends going to latimes.com.