Calif. Supreme Court rejects gay marriage ban
MSNBC staff and news service reports
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court has overturned a ban on gay marriage, paving the way for California to become the second state where gay and lesbian residents can marry.
The justices released the 4-3 decision Thursday, saying that domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage in an opinion written by Chief Justice Ron George.
"Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest," the court said in a majority decision.
"Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."
The cases were brought by the city of San Francisco, two dozen gay and lesbian couples, Equality California and another gay rights group in March 2004 after the court halted San Francisco's monthlong same-sex wedding march, which took place at Mayor Gavin Newsom's direction.