A sharply divided California Supreme Court today legalized same-sex marriage, a historic ruling that will allow gay and lesbian couples across the state to wed as soon as next month and inflame the social, political and moral debate over gay unions.
In a 4-3 ruling written by Chief Justice Ronald George, the Supreme Court struck down California laws that restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, finding that it is unconstitutional to deprive gays and lesbians of the equal right to walk down the aisle with a marriage license in hand.
See complete text of the ruling
The California and Massachusetts Supreme Courts are now the only top courts in the country to uphold the right of gay couples to marry.
"The California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," the court observed in a 121-page decision.