On Nov. 5, 2024, California voters will decide on a constitutional amendment that would repeal Proposition 8, a 2008 amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The 2024 ballot measure would also add language to the California Constitution stating that “the right to marry is a fundamental right.”
Currently, 29 states have constitutions that ban same-sex marriage or define marriage as between one man and one woman. Nevada was the first state to repeal a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage with the passage of Question 2 in 2020. It is now the only state to explicitly recognize same-sex marriage in its constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges upholding same-sex marriage rendered state bans unenforceable.
California voters originally approved Proposition 8 52-47%. In 2009, the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 8 “carved out a limited [or ‘narrow’] exception to the state equal protection clause” and prohibited same-sex marriage under the California Constitution.
On Aug. 4, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals permitted same-sex marriages in California to begin on June 28, 2013. Although inactive, Proposition 8’s language remained in the state constitution.
The 2024 ballot measure would remove the text of Article 1, Section 7.5 of the California Constitution, which currently states that “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” and replace it with the following:
(a) The right to marry is a fundamental right. (b) This section is in furtherance of both of the following: (1) The inalienable rights to enjoy life and liberty and to pursue and obtain safety, happiness, and privacy guaranteed by Section 1. (2) The rights to due process and equal protection guaranteed by Section 7.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said, “Same sex marriage is the law of the land and Prop. 8 has no place in our constitution. It’s time that our laws affirm marriage equality regardless of who you are or who you love.”
California Assembly member Evan Low (D), who sponsored the proposition, said, “Although, same-sex marriage is legal, it could be temporary. We have to remain vigilant, unwavering in our dedication to equality.”
The California State Legislature unanimously approved the repeal measure. The California State Assembly passed the amendment on June 26, 2023, and the California State Senate passed it on July 13, 2023. To place a constitutional amendment on the ballot in California, a two-thirds (66.67%) vote is required during one legislative session in the Legislature.
The amendment will join six other ballot propositions on the November 2024 ballot.
Produced in association with Ballotpedia
Edited by Suparba Sil