LGBT Project Wiki

California Proposition 8 (2008)

4,916pages on
this wiki
Add New Page
Add New Page Talk0

Proposition 8, also known as the Limit on Marriage Amendment or the California Marriage Protection Act,[1] is an initiative measure proposed for the 2008 California General Election ballot that, if passed, would amend the California State Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.[2]



Until 1977, California did not explicitly define marriage as being between a man and a woman, but court decisions, and some statutes, dating from both statehood and the 1872 codification of the civil law, assumed as much.[3][4] In 1977, the legislature amended Civil Code section 4100 (predecessor to what is now codified at Family Code section 300) to read that marriage is "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman".[4] In 2000, voters passed ballot initiative Proposition 22, which confirmed that status quo.[4] However, other laws passed by the legislature both before and after Proposition 22 recognized domestic partnerships, and afforded them some of the rights of marriage.[4]

A number of developments arose in the wake of Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2004 decision to perform same sex weddings in San Francisco. The marriages were soon annulled by the courts, but San Francisco began a legal challenge that, consolidated with other cases as In re Marriage Cases, lead to the May 15, 2008 California Supreme Court decision to strike down Proposition 22, and all other prohibitions on same-sex marriage, as violating the state constitution.[5] While the case was underway, several legislative bills approving same-sex marriage and various domestic partnership rights were vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Afraid that either the courts or the legislature might overturn Proposition 22, opponents of same-sex marriages introduced a number of unsuccessful petition drives and legislative attempts to place a constitutional amendment before voters that would prohibit same-sex marriages—and in some cases, domestic partnerships as well.

2008 electionEdit

In late 2007 and 2008, at least four different groups sponsored new ballot initiatives for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages. The one that did obtain enough signatures,[6] is the "California Marriage Protection Act"[7] (titled the "Limit on Marriage" Constitutional Amendment by the California Attorney General), sponsored by During the initiative process, the amendment was assigned the number 07-0068.[8] Among the individual sponsors is Gail Knight, the widow of Pete Knight, who sponsored Proposition 22.[8] A rival proposal, the "Right to Protect Marriage Initiative", sponsored by the organization, was unable to obtain enough signatures, which the organization claimed was due to inability to raise funds.[9] Both groups had sponsored unsuccessful initiatives on the subject in prior years.[10]

Proposed amendmentEdit

If passed, the amendment would override the ruling in In re Marriage Cases that struck down both the 1977 law and Proposition 22.[11] The Constitution, as amended, would add a new section (Section 7.5) to Article I, placing it between the state Equal Protection clause and nondiscrimination in business and the professions. The proposed language reads:

Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.[7]

The text of this amendment is the same exact wording of Proposition 22.

Legal challengeEdit

On 2008-06-20, a coalition of organizations representing gay and lesbian couples petitioned the California Supreme Court to remove the initiative from the ballot. The organizations assert that the broad implications of the measure made it a constitutional revision (which may only be introduced by the legislature) rather than a constitutional amendment.[12] The petition also claims the ballot petition is invalid because it incorrectly stated that its passage would not change the law (and would have no financial impact on the state). The California attorney general prepared those statement prior to the May 15 Supreme Court decision.[13]


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that although he has opposed and has vetoed legislative bills that would legalize same sex marriage in California, he is opposed to the initiative and other attempts to amend the state's constitution.[14] Schwarzenegger released the following statement on May 15, 2008 regarding the ruling:

I respect the Court's decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling. Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.[15]

Equality for all is an organization opposed to Proposition 8[16]


Proposition 8
Yes or no Votes Percentage
Totals 100.00%
Voter turnout

See alsoEdit


  1. Winger, Nicole (2007-10-03). Secretary of State Debra Bowen assigns numbers to ballot measures certified for the February 5, 2008 Presidential primary election, invites Californians to submit ballot arguments by October 9. California Secretary of State. Retrieved on 2008-06-05.
  2. Limit on marriage. Constitutional amendment.
  3. IGS Library staff. Same-Sex Marriage in California - Overview and Issues. UC Berkeley, Institute of Governmental Studies. Retrieved on 2008-10-18.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 In re Marriage Cases. Retrieved on 2008-06-04.
  5. Demian Bulwa. "Opponents of same-sex marriage plot their campaign strategy", San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 19, 2008. 
  6. Apparently, as of May, 2008
  7. 7.0 7.1 Scan of Initiative from California Attorney General's web site
  8. 8.0 8.1 Seth Hemmelgarn. "Anti-gay initiative drive back on", Bay Area Reporter, January 31, 2008. 
  9. An Important Update from Retrieved on 2008-05-18.
  10. Lisa Leff. "California groups seek gay marriage amendment again", Oakland Tribune, February 15, 2008. 
  11. Demian Bulwa. "Opponents of same-sex marriage plot their campaign strategy", San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-19. 
  12. "San Francisco Chronicle Gay marriage backers want ban issue off ballot", June 20, 2008. 
  14. Allison Hoffman. "Schwarzenegger: No to Marriage Amendment", Associated Press, 2008-04-12. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. 
  15. Template:Cite press release

External linksEdit


Also on Fandom

Random Wiki