NOW Denounces California Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Prop 8: Same-Sex Couples’ Constitutional Right to Marriage Denied

“Today’s decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Prop 8 is a devastating setback, but I believe it will be another galvanizing moment in the struggle for equal marriage,” said NOW President Kim Gandy. “We commend the court for allowing to stand the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place under the court’s earlier decision.”

“NOW members will be out in force at protests in California and across the country Tuesday and in coming days. And we will continue working to right this wrong,” said Gandy.

The National Organization for Women, California NOW and the Feminist Majority had submitted a joint amicus curiae brief to the court in support of the plaintiffs’ challenge to the validity of the Proposition 8 ballot measure, which passed at the polls last November by a slim margin.

NOW’s friend of the court brief urged the court to rule that fundamental rights already protected by the California constitution, such as the right to marry, cannot be taken away by popular vote. We argued that upholding Prop 8 would set a dangerous precedent that would leave no fundamental right — including the right to equal protection and the right to privacy on which many women’s rights hinge — safe from the whims of a bare majority.

The California court’s decision flies in the face of recent progress on the issue. In the last two months, same-sex couples won the right to marry in Iowa, Vermont and Maine. The Washington D.C. city council voted 12-1 to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere — a major step for our nation’s capital that first must be approved by Congress before it can take effect. Other states, such as New Hampshire and New York, appear to be on the verge of endorsing same-sex marriage in the near future. However, it’s important to remember that more than 40 states still have statutes or constitutional amendments banning marriage for same-sex couples.

“For decades, NOW has been a leader in the fight for full equality and the right to marry,” said Gandy. “This ruling demonstrates that there is still much work to be done, and we can expect both ups and downs along the way. But I am confident that we will continue moving in the right direction, and justice will ultimately prevail.”


Contact: Caitlin Gullickson, media[at], 202-628-8669 ext 123