Last week, after Californias high court overturned the states ban on gay marriage, floods of media reports began analyzing the court rulings impact and historical implications.
According to experts, the decision to begin granting marriage licenses to homosexuals in the nations most populous state could have an impact unprecedented on the nations landscape.
In a study last December months before the California Supreme Court began hearing the legal arguments for and against gay marriage a study done by the University of California-Davis' Law Review revealed Californias Supreme Court as the most influential in the nation. According to the study, a total of 1,260 decisions made by the California high court have been mimicked and followed by other states, a figure higher than any other state in the union.
Douglas Kmiec, a law professor at the Pepperdine University Law School in Malibu, Calif., emphasized that the California high courts decision on gay marriage would have far greater impact than the similar decision by the Supreme Court of Massachusetts to legalize gay marriage in 2004.
The way the Massachusetts court had interpreted its state law, same-sex marriage in Massachusetts was not available to non-residents, Kmiec explained, according to Cybercast News Service.
"In California, there's no waiting period, there's no residency requirement, and so yesterday's ruling doesn't just affect a single state with a very large population," he added.
"One of the principal effects of the California decision will be to create large numbers of same-sex marriages that will not only reside in California, but will migrate across the country," he continued. The migration of same-sex couples to other states could then spur the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, he explained.
The significance of California as a battle ground in the controversy over gay marriage has not been lost among pro-family organizations. Many pro-family and Christian groups are scuttling to put together a constitutional amendment that will thoroughly ban gay marriage in the state once-in-for-all.
The measure which is still being processed by the State Registrar has attracted over 1 million signatures.
If a majority of state residents vote positively on the ban this November, the amendment will overturn and nullify the decision by the California Supreme Court an outcome that Christian groups are counting on.
"The only way Californians can reverse [the California Supreme Courts] outrageous decision and restore common sense is by passing the [gay marriage ban] on the November ballot, Bill May, chairman of Catholics for the Common Good and spokesperson for Stand with Children, explained. That would put the definition of marriage in the state constitution putting it out of reach of judges and politicians.
While the effort to add the gay marriage ban to the state constitution has been complicated recently by Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneggers publicly announced support of the high courts ruling, Christian groups are confident that the will of the people will prevail.
"The majority of Americans recognize the fact that legitimate marriage and family are cornerstones of a healthy society, explained Matthew Barber of the Concerned Women of America (CWA) in a statement released the day of the court ruling.
According to a recent Gallup poll, gay marriage is unpopular among the majority of Americans. Only 40 percent of Americans currently say marriage between same-sex couples should be legal, according to the polls results released this month.
Pending the ruling of the California Supreme Court, gay couples will be eligible to file for marriage licenses within 30 days.
Christian groups have requested that state officials issue a stay on gay marriage licenses until after the results of the November ballot.
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.