The Governor of California has said that a statewide ballot measure to ban gay marriage that passed last week is not the end of the matter.
Arnold Schwarzenegger voted against Proposition 8.
With 100% of votes at polling stations counted, 5,424,916 (52.4%) voted in favour of a constitutional definition of marriage being between a man and woman. 4,832,086 (47.6%) voted against.
More than 2m postal and absentee votes have yet to be counted. However, the campaign to stop Prop 8 has conceded defeat.
In an interview with CNN, the Governor said:
“It’s unfortunate, obviously, but it’s not the end.
“I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area.”
There were large protest across California over the weekend. Some targeted Mormon and Catholic churches – both denominations donated funds to the Prop 8 campaign.
In May the state Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to eqaul protection and could legally marry. Between June 17th election day on November 4th, more than 18,000 couples got married and it is thought they are still legally wed.
Last week the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Centre for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition before the California Supreme Court urging the court to invalidate Proposition 8.
The petition charges that Prop 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians.
Proposition 8 also “improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities.”
According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organising principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.
“The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works,” the groups said in a statement.
“Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution.
“But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters.
“That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid.”