The California Supreme Court Tuesday morning upheld Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that was approved by California voters last November in a close election.
State officials will, as a result of the decision, continue to prohibit issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In issuing its ruling, the court also decided that the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed last year in California will remain valid. The issue is far from over, as it is expected to go back to the ballot box as early as next year with a constitutional amendment recognizing same-sex marriage.
Prop 8's celebrity supporters were many in number, including A-listers such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and Milk Oscar-winner Sean Penn. Charlize Theron and boyfriend Stuart Townsend, who have publicly said they wouldn’t tie the knot until everyone can. Openly gay stars such as Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres (who wed girlfriend Portia DeRossi last year) have also been an outspoken activist in favor of gay marriage.
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In September 2008, Pitt said he was donating $100,000 to fight Prop 8. At that time, the actor said in a statement: "Because no one has the right to deny another their life, even though they disagree with it, because everyone has the right to live the life they so desire if it doesn't harm another and because discrimination has no place in America, my vote will be for equality and against Proposition 8."
Five states now allow same-sex couples to marry: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine. In New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey, lawmakers are considering legalizing same-sex marriage. In Iowa and Maine, opponents of same-sex marriage say they plan to use the ballot box to overturn decisions to legalize same-sex marriage.