To the chagrin of social conservatives around the country (especially the Religious Right), the Supreme Court of California has approved gay marriage, as reported in the Los Angeles Times:

The California Supreme Court decided today that same-sex couples should be permitted to wed, ruling that gay unions must be given the “respect and dignity” of marriage.

In a 4-3 vote, the court became the first in the country to apply the constitutional protections reserved for race and gender to sexual orientation. The Massachusetts high court struck down bans on same-sex marriage in 2003, but under a different legal theory.

The court held that people have a fundamental right to marry the person of their choice and struck down marriage laws limiting matrimony to opposite-sex couples as a violation of the state constitution’s equal protection guarantees.

This does not settle the matter, however. The forces of theocracy in California already had a ballot initiative underway which would amend the state constitution to make marriage one-man one-woman; if it succeeds, it will obviate today’s ruling. The outrage is already blazing around the country, so this initiative will certainly pick up steam.

While I’m sure that conservative pundits on radio and TV will rail against the “‘activist’ left-wing court,” they will do so in error. This story concludes:

The California Supreme Court has six Republican appointees and one Democrat. Scholars have described the court under the leadership of [Ronald M.] George, the chief justice, as cautious and moderately conservative.

In other words, it’s a conservative Republican court that handed down this decision … not a bunch of raging left-wingers!

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