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June 14, 2013

California Prepares for Supreme Court Decision on Prop 8

Watch California Prepares for Fallout as Ruling on Prop. 8 Nears on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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As many await the Supreme Court’s decision on the fate of “Prop 8”, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Californians on both sides of the issue are preparing for fallout. In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8 at the ballot box, banning same-sex marriage in the state less than a year after it had been legalized.

The ban meant that gay couples wouldn’t be eligible for rights that straight married couples have, like the ability to visit their partner in the hospital, to adopt a child, to purchase a car or open a joint bank account.

“I would like to be equal to my parents. I would like Wes to be equal to his parents,” said Andre Sanchez, a one-time gay activist who lives with his partner Wes in San Francisco. “And it’s just something that we have to fight for constantly.”

As many look forward to the court’s ruling, some conservatives are hoping that the justices will side with the original proposition.

“We certainly hope that the court will uphold the right of voters of California to define what marriage is,” said William May of Catholics for the Common Good.

Both sides vow to keep fighting, no matter what the court decides. A ruling is expected before the end of the month.


“Marriage between a man and a women forms the only civil institution that is geared towards uniting kids with their moms and dads. Today, we have too high of — incidents of single parenting, which is the root cause of poverty,” – William May, Catholics for the Common Good.

“God forbid they do the wrong thing, and they just reject. I will tell you, you want a backlash? You just wait if they go south. In many ways, it will just unite people that may be quietly supportive on the sideline that I think will say, all right, wait a second, this is a civil rights struggle,” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, D – Calif.

Warm up questions

1. Why do people get married?

2. What is your definition of marriage?

3. What do you know about “Proposition 8”?

Discussion questions

1. How do you think the Supreme Court will rule on these two cases? Why?

2. Why is the right to marry a central issue for gay rights advocates?

3. Where do you think issues like same-sex marriage should be decided: at the voting booth, in the courts, in Congress, or in the executive branch? Why?

4. What is the legal status of same-sex marriage in your state? Discuss.

— Compiled by Becky Gaskill for NewsHour Extra

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