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California court to rule on gay marriage

Rallies planned in US, Toronto and Vancouver

DAY OF DECISION. Rallies in celebration or protest are planned across the US, as well as Toronto and Vancouver.

Tue, May 26 is labelled the “Day of Decision” for gay marriage in the state of California. The California Supreme Court has announced that they will rule on the matter known as Strauss vs Horton, but known more commonly as the Proposition 8 decision.

The court is considering three questions related to the challenges of Proposition 8’s passage back in November — a move that restricted marriage to opposite-sex couples. The court will decide:

  1. Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?
  2. Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution?
  3. If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

Numerous rallies — in celebration or protest — are planned across the US, and at least two are being held in Canada as well.

In Toronto, a rally will be held Tuesday evening at 5:30pm Eastern at the US Consulate in Toronto (360 University Ave).

In Vancouver, a rally is being held at Morton Park (corner of Davie St and Denman St) at 6pm Pacific.

“I am from California,” says Toronto rally organizer Thom Vernon. “There’s a group here in town called Love Exiles, which is actually an international organization for people who have left the US or been forced out because of the lack of relationship recognition.”

Vernon also organized a November Prop 8 protest, where the turnout was around 150 people. With the decision now coming down, Vernon says that the impetus behind this rally was to lend support for the cause.

“In Canada we kind of have it good, but there’s a lot of people in the States who are in situation that we were in,” says Vernon. “Just because [these issues] are for all intents and purposes over in Canada, they’re not over globally.”

Roger Chin, organizing the rally in Vancouver, also organized a protest there in November.

“One of the things we found out was there are a lot of bi-national American couples living in Canada,” says Chin. “In fact, my partner and I filmed a documentary a couple of months ago with some of those couples, and those couples are also speaking on Tuesday. One of them, Paul and Michael, actually got married during that time where it was legal [in California], and so they don’t know if they’re going to be married tomorrow — if their marriage is going to be annulled tomorrow or not.”

Chin hopes that not only will the weather be better than the November protest, but that the location change to the heart of Vancouver’s gay ghetto will attract more people.

Vernon, meanwhile, was encouraged by November’s turnout despite the rain, but he is now concerned that attention to the issue has waned.

“I think the Prop 8 issue has unfortunately taken a bit of a back-burner to the five states that have now passed gay marriage, and the bigger marriage question,” says Vernon.

But Chin hopes that with the recent Miss California media storm that the issue has not gone away, and that Canadians will still turn up to show their support.