In 2004, the State Supreme Court of California ordered the city and county of San Francisco to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and said that it would consider in a separate legal action whether California’s restriction of marriage to different-sex couples violates the state’s constitution. Lambda Legal, the National Center of Lesbian Rights and the ACLU promptly filed a separate lawsuit against the state to win the right to marry for same-sex couples throughout California. The case has moved through the California court system and is currently under review by the California Supreme Court. Oral arguments were heard on March 4, 2008, and by California law, the court must issue its decision in 90 days from the oral arguments, which, in this case, would be by June 2, 2008.
If the justices decide in favor of marriage equality, the attacks on both the individual justices, along with the court system itself, will undoubtedly come fast and furious, as we have witnessed in other states. One article has already effectively begun to rebut the inevitable anti-court rhetoric. As Mr. Eisenberg, the author of the article, rightly points out “For the courts to decide such constitutional questions is not judicial activism — it is their job.” Let us all be prepared for the firestorm that will ensue from antigay and other extremist groups, if the court does in fact rule in favor of fairness.