CA lawmakers push to enshrine marriage equality in constitution

In November, California voters will decide whether to enshrine marriage equality in the state constitution.

Marriage equality is currently the law of the land, but lawmakers are concerned that since the U.S. Supreme Court rolled back abortion rights, marriage equality could be next.

California has had a back-and-forth relationship with same-sex marriage since San Francisco began marrying couples in 2004. In 2008, voters passed Proposition 8, changing the state constitution to block same-sex marriage. A Supreme Court decision in 2013 made that amendment obsolete, but it remains in the Constitution.


Proposed amendment aims to safeguard same-sex marriage in California

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, supporters of same-sex marriage say they want to take action now to ensure anyone who wants to get married in California can do so.

State Assemblyman Evan Low from the South Bay and San Francisco Senator Scott Wiener have co-written Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which Californians will vote on November 5. The amendment would remove the provisions opposing same-sex marriage from the constitution once and for all.

"It's sort of seen as 'zombie language,'" said Low. "But, given where the direction of the United States Supreme Court is, that provides the impetus and the sense of urgency that says we need to preempt this."

The amendment has already cleared the necessary legislative hurdles and has the backing of Governor Gavin Newsom, who worries that shifting national political tides could undo marriage equality.

"Look what's happening in all these red states: voting rights, civil rights, LGBTQ rights," said Newsom. "Look what's happening to women's rights, not just access to abortion, but the debate we're having today about contraception. This is real."

Married couples in San Francisco say the battle for equality is a constant struggle, and they plan to support the measure in the fall.

SEE ALSO: How California played a role in the Respect for Marriage Act

"Absolutely, it means everything to me," said Christopher Huth. "Marriage equality should be across the nation. So, if it's not enshrined in our state constitution in California, which we get looked at often for, it definitely needs to be."

Ron Bacon and Jon Cooper, together for over 30 years, have fought to get married and stay married.

"Well, he and I have been married three times because of the law," said Bacon.

They say they will vote to protect their rights and their marriage.
"We always believed it should be a right for everybody, not just straight people," said Cooper.