Calif. Justices Strike Down Gay Marriage Ban

4-3 ruling makes state second, after Mass., to allow unions; challenge ahead
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2008 12:42 PM CDT
Partners Jeanne Rizzo, left, and Pali Cooper, middle, plaintiffs in the gay marriage case, watched a televised hearing.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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(Newser) – The California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage today, calling state laws discriminatory, the Los Angeles Times reports. The moderately conservative body found that same-sex couple must be allowed to marry, in a case stemming from the 2004 San Francisco unions that the same judges intervened to stop. An initiative on the November ballot could yet void the ruling if passed by voters.

"We are free to marry anyone," declared a jubilant advocate for lesbians. California, with 100,000 same-sex couples, joins Massachusetts in allowing marriage; 27 states have amendments banning it. The California legislature has twice passed bills authorizing the unions, but they've been vetoed by GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger—who today changed his tune, saying he’d uphold the ruling.