Setbacks For Gay Marriage Rights

Wed Jul. 12, 2006 1:38 AM EDT

A California appeals court heard arguments yesterday to determine the constitutionality of a state law defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman (Los Angeles Times). The arguments presented were pretty much what we're used to hearing by now: gay couples implored the court to uphold their right to happiness and equality (as promised to them by the constitution), while opponents offered their scroll of reasons why marriage plus gay equals certain decay.

California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer went as far as to say that the ban should remain intact since gays "already enjoy many of the rights of the married under the state's domestic partner law," but one member on the court's three-judge panel took a different view--that separate domestic partner law is, well, inherently unequal. We'll likely have to wait until October to see how this one pans out.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts' top court approved a proposed amendment defining marriage as a strictly hetero institution, thus paving the way for the state's legislature to get the amendment on the 2008 ballot.

Massachusetts is currently the only state that extends to same-sex couples the right to marry. All eyes will be on the constitutional convention this Wednesday where legislators will vote on the amendment (a quarter of the legislators will have to approve, and then do the same again next year, for the initiative to go on the ballot).

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