For Immediate Release
Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906
NOW Denounces California Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Prop 8:
Same-Sex Couples' Constitutional Right to Marriage Denied
WASHINGTON - "Today's decision by the California Supreme Court to uphold Prop 8
is a devastating setback, but I believe it will be another galvanizing
moment in the struggle for equal marriage," said NOW President Kim
Gandy. "We commend the court for allowing to stand the 18,000 same-sex
marriages that took place under the court's earlier decision."
"NOW members will be out in force at protests in California and
across the country Tuesday and in coming days. And we will continue
working to right this wrong," said Gandy.
The National Organization for Women, California NOW and the Feminist Majority had submitted a joint amicus curiae
brief to the court in support of the plaintiffs' challenge to the
validity of the Proposition 8 ballot measure, which passed at the polls
last November by a slim margin.
NOW's friend of the court brief urged the court to rule that
fundamental rights already protected by the California constitution,
such as the right to marry, cannot be taken away by popular vote. We
argued that upholding Prop 8 would set a dangerous precedent that would
leave no fundamental right -- including the right to equal protection
and the right to privacy on which many women's rights hinge -- safe
from the whims of a bare majority.
The California court's decision flies in the face of recent progress
on the issue. In the last two months, same-sex couples won the right to
marry in Iowa, Vermont and Maine. The Washington D.C. city council
voted 12-1 to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere -- a
major step for our nation's capital that first must be approved by
Congress before it can take effect. Other states, such as New Hampshire
and New York, appear to be on the verge of endorsing same-sex marriage
in the near future. However, it's important to remember that more than
40 states still have statutes or constitutional amendments banning
marriage for same-sex couples.
"For decades, NOW has been a leader in the fight for full equality
and the right to marry," said Gandy. "This ruling demonstrates that
there is still much work to be done, and we can expect both ups and
downs along the way. But I am confident that we will continue moving in
the right direction, and justice will ultimately prevail."
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The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.