In response to a ruling today from the California Supreme Court, which upheld Proposition 8, an anti-marriage equality amendment passed in November 2008, PFLAG National announced that the organization would continue work in the state to educate voters, work with lawmakers and secure full marriage rights for lesbian and gay couples. The court’s ruling, which will allow marriages performed in the state during a brief period last year to remain legal, will likely be a rallying cry for supporters of marriage equality around the country, the organization said.
“Today’s ruling is out-of-step with a growing consensus in our country that all loving couples should be treated equally in the eyes of the law,” said Jody M. Huckaby, PFLAG’s executive director. “It is also a reminder that, even in places where we have traditionally seen progress on equality, there is still work that remains to be done. Today, the California Supreme Court has dealt a blow to our families, but tomorrow, PFLAG’s 41 California chapters will be back on the job, working in their communities to build support for moving marriage equality forward.”
Today’s 6-to-1 ruling ensures that the estimated 18,000 couples who legally wed in the state prior to Proposition 8’s passage will remain wed and be recognized as such by the state. The decision prohibits, however, any additional couples from marrying.
“The marriages of same-sex couples cannot properly be interpreted to apply retroactively,” said the Court. “Accordingly, the marriages of same-sex couples performed prior to the effective date of Proposition 8 remain valid and must continue to be recognized in this state.”
PFLAG noted that the organization has seen a dramatic spike in new chapters forming across the country since Proposition 8’s passage, and that its members are uniquely positioned to help build grassroots support for a future vote, either at the ballot box or in the state legislature, on the issue of marriage.
“The future of marriage equality in California depends, in large part, on changing hearts and minds in small towns and traditionally conservative districts,” Huckaby said. “PFLAG is already in those communities, and our chapters are more committed than ever to doing the outreach and education that will be necessary to turn out fair-minded voters in the future.”