December 4, 2008 By Wallin & Klarich

Gay Marriage Dilemma in California

On May 15, 2008 the California Supreme Court voted declared unconstitutional a state ban on same-sex marriage. While a victory for thousands of gay couples across the state and nation, the case did not appear to give them more substantive rights than previously enjoyed under California’s Domestic Partnership Law. Nor did it give attorneys practicing family law any guidance on how unique same-sex marriage related law would be. To the contrary, it simply left California family law lawyers to wrangle with competing rights under the California and Federal Constitutions. Then, only adding fuel to fire, California voters passed Proposition 8 by a four (4) percent margin on November 4, 2008, effectively overturning the California Supreme Courts earlier holding, jeopardizing the marriages of 18,000 same-sex couples who wedded in the 4 ½ months that the holding survived.

Accordingly, three lawsuits have been filed on behalf of various entities and persons, the outcome of which appears largely unpredictable. The lawsuits are based on the argument that Proposition 8 qualified as a constitutional revision, rather than a simple constitutional amendment, and therefore required passage by the legislature prior to being voted on by the populace. While a simple enough argument, the lack of case law on the matter makes the outcome of the cases questionable. However, the family law lawsuits are not without their supporters, including the former California Supreme Court Justice Joseph Gordin.

To only further complicate matters, experts, as well as Attorney General Jerry Brown, are in disagreement on whether or not Proposition 8 will null the 18,000 same-sex marriages entered into recently. Amongst all the confusion, the question becomes where does a person who has a legal question about same-sex marriages turn too? Oakland Sole practitioner Fredrick Hertz’s candid statement captures the extent of the quandary concisely: ‘I have never been paid so much to tell people ” ‘I don’t know’ ” in such fancy ways.’

While certainty cannot be offered by any law firm, such speculative developments heightened the need for seasoned attorneys even more. Wallin & Klarich is a large California Criminal Defense Law Firm in Orange County, California, with offices throughout Southern California. The firm boasts over 30 years of experience in family matters, and banners an AV rating from Martin Dale Hubble, the highest rating any law practice can obtain. Visit us at and call us at 888-749-0034

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