Breaking News
More () »

LGBTQ Caucus wants to take out the same-sex marriage ban from California's constitution

Voters approved the ban in 2008, but a federal judge later ruled the ban unconstitutional. The language, however, is still there.

SAN DIEGO — There is a new effort to protect same-sex marriage in California following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as the San Francisco Chronicle first reported. 

In 2008, California voters passed a ban on same-sex marriage. While a judge overruled it, the words are still in the constitution.

LGBTQ groups are working with the State LGBTQ Caucus about putting the measure back in front of voters to officially remove the language from the constitution. It’s a campaign they said will take time and a lot of money. 

Senator Scott Wiener remembers the day in 2008 perfectly. 

“It was the same night that Barack Obama was elected president,” Wiener said. 

A night he said for him, should have been celebratory. 

"But then that same night, it was just devastating to have my fellow Californians decide that people like me were second class citizens and not good enough to get married,” he said. 

California voters approved Proposition 8, effectively banning same-sex marriage. 

“Then in 2010, that proposition was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court saying that it violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution,” Samuel Garret Pate with Equality California said. 

Equality California is one of the largest LGBTQ activist groups in the state. 

Five years after that, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage on a national level in Obergefell v. Hodges, also using the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th amendment.

It's a case Justice Clarence Thomas specifically said in his opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade that he would also like to revisit. 

“No one should rest easy believing that LGBTQ civil rights are safe in this country or in California," Garrett-Pate said. "We've seen already that the U.S. Supreme Court is willing to overturn decades of precedent in the Dobbs case and take away abortion access for millions of Americans.”

Equality California has worked with legal experts who believe California does however have an extra layer of protection because the 2010 case predates Obergefell in 2015. 

“And so our focus as an organization and the LGBTQ movement focus right now is on protecting abortion access in this country,” Garrett-Pate said. 

They are working with the legislature to put something on the ballot the following election cycle in 2024. 

“We probably need to raise $10 or $15 million to make darn sure that we actually win and doing that in a few months was probably not gonna be feasible,” Senator Wiener said. 

Political reporter Morgan Rynor reached out to a couple of organizations who have pushed back against these issues in the past to be included in this article, but did not hear back by the time of publication. 

How would the measure get on the ballot? The legislature can pass the amendment with a 2/3 vote and hand it back down to the voters, or the voters can put it on the ballot themselves by collecting enough signatures.

WATCH RELATED: Justice with Joy | What you need to know about Pride in San Diego (July 2022)


Before You Leave, Check This Out