Marriage Equality USA

Stay Informed

Back Home

State of California
All in this Region

Current Status

  • Civil marriage equality in effect at the state level first in 2008 for 4 months, and then again beginning in June 2012. (Same-sex couples may legally marry.)
  • Marriage equality recognized by the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel tribe in California as of 24 June 2013.
  • March 2015, Fair Share for Equalitypresents the findings of Equality California's Fair Share for Equality convening. This event, created as part of EQCA Institute’s educational outreach, brought together leaders from the LGBT community and community organizations, educators, social science experts and legislators to highlight and address the health and well-being disparities between California’s LGBT community and the broader community.


  • In 1989 the Bar Association of San Francisco called for the legalization of same-sex marriages.
  • In 1999, the California Domestic Partnership Registry was enacted - it was the first of its kind in the United States created by a legislature without court intervention. 
  • Also in 1999, Davina Kotulski and Molly McKay, of the San Francisco East Bay, founded Marriage Equality California (MECA).
  • In 2001 Davina Kotulski became the second Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA, reactivating the national organization. Marriage Equality New York (MENY), MECA and MEUSA were all born of ideas activists conceived in 1996. 
  • In 2003, the introduction of The California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 (Assembly Bill 205 of 2003) marked a major shift in the legislature’s approach to domestic partnerships. This bill, introduced by Assemblymembers Jackie Goldberg, Christine Kehoe, Paul Koretz, John Laird, and Mark Leno, created the presumption that domestic partners were to have all of the rights and responsibilities afforded spouses under state law. This bill also ensured that similar relationships, such as civil unions, created in other states would be recognized in CA. Governor Gray Davis signed the bill into law in September 2003 and it went into effect 1 January 2005. To this day CA provides the broadest domestic partnerships in the U.S. to all same-sex couples and to opposite-sex couples in which at least one person is over the age of 62.
  • In 2004, then Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom issued 4,037 marriages licenses to same-sex couples - this has become known as the historic "Winter of Love." 
  • In 2005, Assemblymember Mark Leno introduced AB 849, a bill legalizing same-sex marriages that became the first bill of its kind to pass a legislative body in the United States. The bill passed both the Assembly and the State Senate, but was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. 
  • In April 2006, MECA merged into MEUSA, becoming the California chapter of the national organization.
  • In 2007, Assemblymember Mark Leno introduced AB 43, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, that would have allowed for same-sex marriage. This bill passed the Assembly and Senate, but was again vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • 16 May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage was unconstitutional.
  • 16 June 2008 - 4 November 2008 an estimated 18,000+ same-sex couples were married in California following the CA Supreme Court ruling.  
  • The guarantee of access to civil marriage was stripped away from unmarried same-sex couples with the passage of Proposition 8 on 4 November 2008. Prop 8 amended the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman.
  • The taking away of a civil right that had been legally extended to a class of people became a key component of the legal battle for marriage equality in California.
  • On 26 June 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a lower court's ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional and marriage equality was restored to Californians.

Legislation - Pending

27 March 2015, Equality California Announces 2015 Legislative Package that Advances Expanded Mission - Equality California (EQCA) Press Release

8 June 2015, LGBT bills advance in CA Statehouse - By Matthew S. Bajko, the Bay Area Reporter (BAR) Online EXTRA: Political Notes

AB 1212 - Student Freedom of Association Act

Date Introduced: 27 February 2015
Author/Sponsor: Assembly Member Grove


  • This bill is one of a number introduced in 5 states that would prohibit public institutions of higher education from denying funding or the benefits of official recognition to any religious student group based on the group’s requirement that its leaders or members adhere to its religious beliefs, even when that means the group discriminates in violation of university policy. (The bills in the other 4 states have all died.)
  • This bill would require, as a condition of receiving state funds for student financial assistance, the governing board of each community college district, the Trustees of the California State University, and the Board of Regents of the University of California to adopt a policy prohibiting their respective campuses from discriminating against a student organization, as specified, for imposing certain requirements on its leaders or voting members. The bill would authorize a student or a student organization aggrieved by a violation of these provisions to commence a civil action to obtain appropriate injunctive and declaratory relief as determined by a court. The bill would also authorize a court to award attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action pursuant to these provisions.
  • 17 June 2015, this bill remains pending in committee before the Assembly.

Legislation - Enacted

SB 1306 - Marriage language

Author/Sponsor: Senator Leno 
Date Introduced: 21 February 2014
Date Enacted: 1 January 2015


  • California law contained antiquated language that defined marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman." With this bill marriage becomes a civil contract between "two persons." The law also replaces a reference to couples taking each other as "husband and wife" to couples taking each other as "spouses." SB 1306 repeals Sections 300 (AB 607, 1977), 308 (The Marriage Recognition and Family Recognition Act, authored by Sen. Leno), 308.5 (Prop 22, California Defense of Marriage Act) of the Family Code, and amends Section 300 and other sections to be gender neutral. This legislation removes the statutory reference to marriage as a union "between a man and a woman" from the state's Family Code and updates the law with gender-neutral terminology so that it applies to all civil marriages. The bill was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on 7 July 2014 and became effective on 1 January 2015.
SB 1140 - Protecting Religious Freedom in Marriage

Author/Sponsor: Senator Leno, California Council on Churches IMPACT
Date Introduced:
 May 2012
Date Enacted: 30 September 2012

  • Defined marriage as a civil contract instead of a religious ceremony, and protected churches’ non-profit status even when clergy refuse to perform same-gender wedding ceremonies. From Equality California: "As we continue our efforts to achieve full equality, we must remove every possible barrier to securing the freedom to marry, including the false claim made by anti-equality advocates in California and elsewhere that allowing loving same-sex couples to marry will force clergy or places of worship to compromise their religious beliefs. As we anticipate the restoration of the freedom to marry in our state, SB 1140 (Leno) reaffirms the principles of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with respect to the freedom of clergy to make faith-based decisions regarding which marriages they solemnize." 
AB 2700 - Separation Equity Act

Author/Sponsor: Senator Ma
Introduced: 19 February 2010
Enacted: 28 September 2010

  • Eliminated some of the legal barriers same-sex couples faced as a result of the State of California treating the relationships of same-sex couples differently. This bill also clarified that same sex couples married outside of California are able to dissolve their marriage in California.
SB 54 - Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act

Author/Sponsor: Senator Leno
Introduced: 2 July 2009
Enacted: 1 January 2010

  • To recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed out-of-state as carrying all the same rights and responsibilities that spouses receive.

Lawsuits - Pending

Held v. Colvin

Case #: 2:15-cv-1732
Date Filed: 10 March 2015
Court Level: Federal District Court (Central California)
Date of Appeal:


Schuett v. FedEx

Case #: 15-cv-189
Date Filed: 14 January 2015
Court Level: Federal District Court (Central California)
Date of Appeal: 


  • 14 January 2015, the widow of a longtime FedEx employee sued FedEx for refusing to provide her with federally required spousal pension benefits solely because both spouses were women. The suit was filed by NCLR. Stacey Schuett and Lesly Taboada-Hall were together for 30 years before they married on 19 June 2013 in Northern California. At the time of Taboada-Hall’s death from uterine cancer, she had been an employee of FedEx for more than 26 years and was fully vested in her pension. FedEx refused to provide the benefits because its pension plan incorporates the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), even though that law was struck down as unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court on 26 June 2013. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, federally-regulated retirement plans must recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of survivor benefits.
  • 14 January 2015, Widow Sues FedEx for Refusing to Provide Survivor Benefits Based on Her Same-Sex Spouse’s 26 years of Service to the Company - NCLR Press Release
  • 22 July 2015, per EQCF: Defendants FedEx Corp, et al., wanted this case transferred from a California federal court to a federal court in Western District of Tennessee. Plaintiff opposed the transfer. The judge denied the defendants' request.
Michael Dragovich v. U.S. Treasury, U.S. IRS and CalPERS

Case #: CV 4:10-01564-CW
Date Filed: 24 May 2012
Court Level: Federal District court (Northern California, Oakland Division)
Date of Appeal: 23 July 2012


  • April 2010, 3 legally married gay and lesbian couples in which one partner is a state employee filed a lawsuit to win the equal right to buy long-term care insurance from the state's pension system.
  • 7 September 2011, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint.
  • 20 January 2011, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland, CA ruled that the couples can proceed with the lawsuit they filed in April against the U.S. Treasury Department and the California Public Employees' Retirement System, known as CalPERS.
  • 20 January 2012, the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment.
  • 24 May 2012, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. Section 7, and Section 7702B of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. Section 7702B, are unconstitutional to the extent that they limit the participation of same-sex spouses and domestic partners of California public employees in the long-term care insurance program provided by the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS).  Judge Wilken premised her ruling on the equal protection requirement of the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, concluding that having disposed of the case on this basis, there was no need for her to address the plaintiffs' alternative substantive due process argument.
  • 26 June 2012, BLAG filed notice of an appeal.
  • 18 July 2013, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner announced that the Republican-controlled BLAG (Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group) had ceased defending DOMA in all 14 of the federal lawsuits on which it spent $3 million in taxpayer funds, including this one.
  • 22 July 2013, BLAG’s appeal was dismissed, and it filed a motion to withdraw from the case, which would leave the United States as the only defendant.
  • 4 November 2013, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated part of the earlier decision, and sent the case back to U.S. district court to reconsider the effect of recent legal changes upon same-gender domestic couples who: live out of CA, can’t marry because of impairment, can’t marry because one partner died, delay marriage, choose not to marry, or who want remedies because they were denied marriage in the past.
  • 17 January 2014, BLAG’s motion to withdraw from the case was denied. The plaintiffs intend to seek attorney’s fees from the defendants, including BLAG.
  • 25 July 2014, a Joint Case Management Statement was filed in anticipation of the Case Management Conference scheduled for 30 July 2014.
  • 28 August 2014, from Equality Case Files (EQCF): Plaintiffs' motion for additional remedies, a class notice, permission to supplement the complaint, summary adjudication, and to compel limited discovery from the state defendants. A factual history of the case begins on page 3 (pdf pg 15).

Lawsuits - Resolved

Aranas v. Napolitano (Formerly Aranas/DeLeon, et al. v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et al.)

Case #: 8:12-cv-01137 (Formerly SACV12-1137-JVS(MLGx))
Date Filed: 12 July 2012
Ruling Date: 12 February 2014


Jake Miller v. Elayne Angel

NOTE: This case is not fully resolved. The case is still pending and the dissolution has not been issued yet. We have listed it here because the issue of whether or not the marriage was legally valid has been resolved.

Case Number: GD053180
Date Filed:
2 October 2013
Ruling date:
6 August 2014 RE: whether or not the marriage was legal/valid


  • Jake Miller was born female. In 1996 he had “sexual reassignment surgery” and had his name and official gender changed to male via the California courts. He was also authorized to apply for a new birth certificate, which he asked his attorney to handle. However, his attorney at the time did not follow through with this.
  • On 17 November 2003, Miller and Elayne Angel obtained a marriage license and went through a civil marriage ceremony. The notary did not request to see their birth certificates, but asked for proof of age, which they provided through their driver’s licenses. They both later testified that they were unaware that Louisiana law required marriage license applicants to provide their birth certificates.
  • Several years later, in 2006, Miller applied for and received a new California birth certificate identifying him as male.
  • While living together in Louisiana as husband and wife, Miller and Angel filed joint state and federal tax returns. They then moved to Mexico, where they lived for several years until they stopped getting along in September 2013. 
  • Miller returned to California to stay with his sister and filed a Petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court for a legal separation. When the petition was served on Angel, she responded without objecting to jurisdiction. Miller amended his action to seek a marital dissolution, and Angel responded again without raising any jurisdictional issue. However, when Miller sought support payments, Angel filed a petition in Louisiana seeking an annulment of the marriage. She claimed that the marriage was actually a same-sex marriage, prohibited in Louisiana. She said that at the time the marriage ceremony was performed, Miller did not have a birth certificate designating him as male, and she objected to the jurisdiction of the California Superior Court.
  • On 6 August 2014, L.A. Superior Court Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman ruled that the marriage was legally valid, that Angel's motion to stop Miller's dissolution petition was denied, and that the case can proceed. Case Details 
  • 14 August 2014: VICTORY! Marriages of Transgender People Ruled Valid by Courts in Arizona and California - Article from the Transgender Law Center
Tracy and Maggie Cooper-Harris v. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, et al.

Case #: 2:12-cv-00887
Date Filed: 1 February 2012
Ruling Date: 29 August 2013


  • Cooper-Harris, a military veteran and a member of/spokesperson for MEUSA, and her wife filed suit to obtain the same pay and benefits as other legally married soldiers.
  • 29 August 2013, the court ordered that a veteran can’t be denied benefits just because of having a spouse of the same gender. 
  • 4 September 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had ceased enforcing U.S. Code, Title 38. (Case summary.)
Handi Lui, et al., v. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, et al.

Case #: 2:11-CV-01267-SVW (JCGX)
Date Filed: 10 February 2011
Ruling Date: 18 July 2013


  • 10 February 2011, Handi Lui, a citizen of Indonesia who in 2009 married his American spouse, Michael Ernest Roberts, in Massachusetts, sued the government after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, denied the couple’s marriage-based petition for permanent residency (the Board of Immigration Appeals later upheld that decision). In the lawsuit, Lui argued that in doing so, USCIS violated the Immigration and Nationality Act’s provisions barring sex discrimination. Furthermore, Lui argued, immigration officials’ interpretation of the Defense of Marriage Act in denying the green card petition was unconstitutional.
  • 28 September 2011, the federal district court dismissed the case, because of its similarity to a 1982 case in Colorado (Adams v. Howerton). 
  • 29 November 2011, they appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. 
  • 18 July 2013, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner announced that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) had ceased defending DOMA in all 14 of the federal lawsuits on which it spent $3 million in taxpayer funds, including this one.
Karen Golinski v. U.S. OPM

Case #: 12-15388, 12-15409
Date Filed: 20 January 2010
Ruling Date: 7 July 2013


  • Karen Golinski submitted an application to enroll her spouse Amy Cunninghis under her employer-provided insurance plan.
  • On 2 October 2008 Golinski filed a complaint under the Ninth Circuit's Employment Dispute Resolution Plan that the denial of insurance coverage for her spouse constituted prohibited discrimination.
  • Twice Chief Judge Alex Kozinski ordered that Golinski be allowed to enroll Cunninghis in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan that covers Golinski and her son, and twice the OPM announced that it would ignore that order.
  • 20 January 2010 Lambda Legal filed suit against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
  • 3 July 2012 The Justice Department asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.
  • 7 December 2012 Out of the four DOMA challenges the Supreme Court was asked to consider, including Golinski v. OPM, the Court agrees to hear United States v. Windsor.
  • 26 June 2013, in U.S. v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court declares Section 3 of the federal, so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.
  • 23 July 2013, citing the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses the appeal of the U.S. District Court ruling in Golinski v. O.P.M.
Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin Perry, et al. (Original case name was Perry v. Schwarzenegger.)

For detailed information regarding this case, please see the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) section on The Perry Case.

Case #: 12–144 (SCOTUS); C 09-2292 VRW (as Perry v. Schwarzenegger in 9th federal district court)
Date Filed: 22 May 2009
Ruling Date: 26 June 2013


  • 22 May 2009, this case was originally filed on behalf of two same-sex couples by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, asking for a preliminary order blocking Prop 8.
  • 4 August 2010, in Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin Perry, et al., California’s Proposition 8, which limited marriage only to mixed-gender couples, was declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of the federal district court (9th). 
  • The defendants appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 7 February 2012, the district court ruling was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 5 June 2012, the 9th Circuit federal appeals court refused to re-hear its prior decision. 
  • The defendants, the Prop 8 proponents, appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • 26 June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit ruling because the Proposition 8 authors had no standing to appeal. The Supreme Court decision left the original federal district court decision, that Prop 8 was unconstitutional, intact.
  • 15 July 2013, in Hollingsworth v. O’Connell, the CA Supreme Court declined a request from Proposition 8 authors to halt the issuance of marriage licenses to same-gender couples, but did agree to consider whether the governor and attorney general correctly told county clerks that Proposition 8 had become invalid statewide.
  • 19 July 2013, in San Diego County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg v. Governor Jerry Brown, San Diego County petitioned the CA Supreme Court to halt all same-gender marriages.
  • August 2013, Clerk Dronenburg withdrew his petition.
  • 4 August 2013, the CA Supreme Court dismissed the new 15 July 2013 suit from the Proposition 8 authors, finally closing this state/federal case for once and for all, 4.5 years after it began. on 8 v. Bowen

Case #: 2:2009cv00058 (California Eastern District Court); 11-17884 (9th Circuit Court of Appeals)
Date Filed: 7 January 2009
Ruling Date: 20 May 2014


  • In 2008, the authors of CA Proposition 8 (NOM, Protect filed a federal lawsuit claiming that because they suffered boycotts, hate mail, phone calls, and unreported “death threats” they should be forever exempt from compliance with CA campaign disclosure laws, and their donors should stay secret. 
  • The U.S. Supreme Court does make exceptions for small, persecuted groups who need anonymity to survive, but the Proposition 8 authors didn’t qualify because they raised over $43 million and got 52% of the votes cast. 
  • 20 October 2011, the district court ruled against them. 
  • 11 October 2013, they argued their case in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 20 May 2014, the 9th Circuit affirmed the ruling by Chief Judge Morrison C. England, Jr., of the Eastern District of California, which had rejected a 1st Amendment challenge to the state’s disclosure statute as it applied to a controversial ballot initiative.
  • 2 March 2015, Supreme Court rejects appeal by Prop 8 donors to keep their identities secret - AP via LGBTQNation
Strauss v. Horton

Case #: S168047
Date Filed: 
5 November 2008
Ruling Date: 
May 2009


  • Lambda Legal, along with the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, filed a writ petition in the California Supreme Court. The petition urged the court to invalidate Proposition 8 (see Ballot Initiatives - Resolved below).
  • Two other petitions were filed in the Supreme Court the same day - making similar arguments, with the same goal. (Robin Tyler et al. v. State of California #S168066 and City and County of San Francisco et al. v. Horton #S168078)
  • 19 November 2008, the Supreme Court agreed to hear all three petitions challenging Prop 8.
  • January 2009, 40+ amici curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs were submitted from hundreds of religious organizations, civil rights groups and labor unions, numerous California municipal governments, scores of bar associations and dozens of leading legal scholars urging the California Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8.
  • 26 May 2009, the court upheld Proposition 8, while also upholding the rights of the approximately 18,000 same-sex couples who married in California between 16 June 2008 and 5 November 2008.
In re Marriage Cases

San Francisco’s Legal Fight for Marriage Equality Timeline

Case #: S147999 (California Supreme Court)
Date Filed: 12 March 2004
Ruling Date: 15 May 2008


  • During then Mayor Gavin Newsom’s 2004 “Winter of Love” in San Francisco marriage licenses were issued to same-sex couples. 
  • 13 February 2004, two organizations, the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Campaign for California Families, filed actions in San Francisco Superior Court seeking an immediate stay to prohibit the City from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
  • The Superior Court refused to grant the groups' request for an immediate stay, and the City and County continued to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Following this, the California Attorney General and a number of taxpayers filed two separate petitions seeking to have the California Supreme Court issue an original writ of mandate, asserting that the City's actions were unlawful and warranted [the court's] immediate intervention."
  • 11 March 2004, the California Supreme Court ordered officials of San Francisco "to enforce the existing marriage statutes and to refrain from issuing marriage licenses not authorized by such provisions."
  • The Court later held in Lockyer v. City and County of San Francisco that the City and County had acted unlawfully, but was free to bring an action challenging the constitutionality of the marriage laws if it wished.
  • 12 March 2004, the City and County of San Francisco then filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate in Superior Court, seeking a declaration that "all California statutory provisions limiting marriage to unions between a man and a woman violate the California Constitution." Six actions were consolidated in a single proceeding called In re Marriage Cases.
  • Two of the plaintiffs in In re Marriage Cases were MEUSA Board Members Legal & Policy Director John Lewis and his husband Communications Director Stuart Gaffney.
  • 15 May 2008, Judge Richard A. Kramer ruled that the marriage restriction was invalid under the strict scrutiny standard based on a suspect classification of gender. (This NY Times article features a photograph of MEUSA’s John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney.)
  • 24 May 2004, the case was argued before the California Supreme Court by City and County of San Francisco Chief Deputy District Attorney Theresa Stewart, then life partner (now spouse) of future MEUSA President Carole Scagnetti.
  • 12 August 2004, the California Supreme Court ruled holding that Mayor Newsom and other city officials lacked authority to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, invalidating marriage licenses issued by San Francisco to same-sex couples in February and March 2004.
  • The case went to the San Francisco Superior Court and then to the California Court of Appeal, which issued a split decision on 10 October 2006, upholding the constitutionality of marriage laws that discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. Court of Appeal Justice Anthony Kline issued a vigorous dissent, arguing that the CA marriage laws violated the California Constitution's right to privacy.
  • 20 December 2006, the California Supreme Court agreed to review the Court of Appeal ruling.
  • 2007 was spent preparing the case and on 4 March 2008 the California Supreme Court heard oral argument, again argued by Chief Deputy District Attorney Theresa Stewart, whose wife, Carole Scagnetti, was national President of MEUSA at this time.
  • 15 May 2008, the California Supreme Court held that California marriage laws' exclusion of same-sex couples violated State Constitutional rights to privacy, liberty and equal protection.
  • 16 & 17 June 2008, the California Supreme Court's decision in In re Marriage Cases became final and weddings of same-sex couples began again at San Francisco City Hall and at counties across the State of California.
  • Same-sex couples were able to legally wed until the passage of Proposition 8 on 4 November 2008 invalidated the Supreme Court’s ruling. (See Ballot Initiatives – Resolved below.)

Ballot Initiatives - Pending

Limits on Use of Facilities in Government Buildings and Businesses

Type & Purpose of Ballot Measure: Would add a statue to prohibit individuals from using facilities in government buildings except in accordance with their sex as determined at birth, through medical examination, or court judgment recognizing a change of gender.
Date: 23 June 2015
Proposed/Sponsored by: Privacy for All (The same group that previously unsuccessfully attempted to overturn AB 1266. The group is backed by the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, a right-wing legal organization.)

Summary (Info provided by Equality California):

  • This is a bathroom policing initiative targeting transgender and non-gender conforming people, which would prohibit transgender people from using facilities in government buildings and require the government to monitor bathroom use. 
  • The law would also allow anyone offended by the presence of an individual in a restroom to sue that person for a $4,000 in damages, as well as attorney’s fees.
  • Government analysts say the measure could cost California millions of dollars every year in legal expenses and lost federal funding.
  • The initiative also includes language authorizing businesses to exclude individuals from facilities for not looking masculine or feminine enough, and preventing individuals from bringing legal action to enforce discrimination laws. The provision in effect could lead to exclusion based on gender altogether from facilities in those establishments with no legal recourse.
Sodomite Suppression Act

Type & Purpose of Ballot Measure: To add a section to the California Penal code which would re-criminalize sodomy and make it punishable by death.
Date: 2 March 2015
Proposed/Sponsored By: Matt McLaughlin


Ballot Initiatives - Passed

Proposition 8

Type & Purpose of Ballot Measure: Citizens Initiative, Constitutional Amendment to amend the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry


  • Changed the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
  • Provided that only marriage between a man and a woman was valid or recognized in California.
  • Over the next few years, potential revenue loss was predicted, mainly from sales taxes, totaling in the several tens of millions of dollars, to state and local governments.

Result: 4 November 2008 Proposition 8 passed in by 51% of the vote, stripping gay and lesbians couples their right to marry the person they love under the law.

  • 4 August 2010, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, Proposition 8 was ruled unconstitutional by US Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker.
  • Perry v. Schwarzenegger, now named Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin Perry, et al., was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • On 26 June 2013 SCOTUS remanded the case back to the trial level, where Proposition 8 had been struck down as unconstitutional per Judge Walker’s 4 August 2010 ruling. (See Dennis Hollingsworth, et al. v. Kristin Perry, et al. above under Lawsuits – Resolved.)


  • On February 26, 2014, Public Religion Research Institute surveyed 408 CA residents regarding same-gender civil marriage, and reported that 59% support it, 37% do not, and 5% don’t know or refused to answer. 
  • 1 March 2013, The Field Poll found 61% of surveyed voters in California believed gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to wed, the highest level of support the organization had ever found on that question in the state. News Source