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California Supreme Court upholds gay marriage ban

The California Supreme Court ruled today that voters' ban on gay marriages should prevail, but allowed to stand marriages that occurred in the brief window before the vote was taken.

The court majority rejected Attorney General Jerry Brown's challenge that Proposition 8 violates "inalienable" rights of same-sex couples to pursue marriage.

The court's opinion, a summary of the ruling says, "declares that the identification of a right as 'inalienable' has never been understood to mean that such right is exempt from any limitation or to preclude the adoption of a constitutional amendment that restricts the scope of such a right."

The 6-1 majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George - who wrote May's opinion that paved the way for gay marriages - and was joined by Justices Joyce L. Kennard, Marvin R. Baxter, Ming W. Chin and Carol A. Corrigan. Kennard also filed a separate concurring opinion.

The 6-1 opinion rejected the challenge to Proposition 8. The judges unanimously upheld the same-sex marriages that took place during the five-month window when such unions were legal.

Justice Carlos R. Moreno agreed with the majority that Proposition 8 only applies going forward, but he dissented by concluding that the measure is an unlawful amendment to California's constitution.

Proposition 8 passed Nov. 4 with about 52 percent of the vote. It changes California's constitution with a simple declaration that only a marriage between a man and a woman is legal and valid in the state.

A crowd of gay advocates outside the San Francisco courthouse started chanting "Shame on you, shame on you" the moment the court's decision was announced.

"It's what we expected based on the initial hearings," said Margie Groeninger, who is married to her partner. "The justices have been clear that even though they view this as discriminatory, it's out of their hands. I'm incredibly hurt and disappointed."

Aaron McLear, spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said, "I think he was hoping it would go the other way. But it didn't, and he will uphold what they have to say."

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