SAN FRANCISCO – In what was a day of shame for pro-family groups everywhere, the California Supreme Court ruled 4-3 Thursday morning to join Massachusetts as the second state to recognize same-sex "marriage."
In the court's opinion, Chief Justice Ron George ruled that the ban on same-sex "marriage" was "discriminatory" and that "domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage." The court's decision overturns state laws prohibiting same-sex nuptials.
Dozens of gay couples who gathered outside the Sacramento courthouse met the ruling with cheers and jubilation as pro-family advocates protested nearby.
"We'll have each other forever, but we deserve the same rights as everybody else," David Bowers told the Sacramento Bee, as he stood by his gay partner. "How can it hurt anyone else?" he asked.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who performed thousands of same-sex "marriages" in 2004 in defiance of state law, praised the ruling. "We had our day in court and we won. Real people won," Newsom said, according to San Jose Mercury News. "People feel their lives are affirmed."
But Matt Barber of the pro-family Concerned Women for America believes the ruling by the California Supreme Court was the "worst kind of judicial activism today" and represented a rejection of the court's supposed role "as an objective interpreter of the law."
"So-called 'same-sex' marriage is counterfeit marriage. Marriage is, and has always been, between a man and a woman," he said in a statement shortly after the court's decision.
Although pro-family groups were undoubtedly disheartened by the court's decision, they were adamant that citizens would vote positively on a constitutional amendment to ban gay "marriage" during this year's election in November.
Over 1 million signatures have been collected to place the measure on the ballot for the public to vote on. The initiative is still being processed by the State Registrar.
If a majority of state residents vote positively on the ban, the amendment will overturn and nullify the decision by the California Supreme Court.
"The majority of Americans recognize the fact that legitimate marriage and family are cornerstones of a healthy society," CWA's Barber noted.
Ron Prentice, executive director of the Sacramento and Riverside-based California Family Council, stressed the importance of the November vote after Thursday's high court decision.
"We have not been able to count on the legislature or the courts of California to adhere to the will of the people," Prentice told the Los Angeles Times. "This is yet another example why the people need to go to the polls in November to defend the historic and natural definition of marriage."
Matt Daniels, president and founder of the Alliance for Marriage Foundation, called California "ground zero" in the battle to protect traditional marriage. "[T]he fight in California must now be joined in the Congress," he said.
Since 2004, when the Massachusetts State Supreme Court made its ruling to recognize gay "marriage," 26 states have passed a constitutional ban on the practice, while over a dozen others have passed laws limiting or outlawing it.