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Prop. 8: the roots of California's challenge to gay marriage

The high court will weigh whether the state can have a constitutional amendment restricting marriage to a man and a woman.


In this 2012 file photo, supporters of gay marriage react outside the James R. Browning United States Courthouse after a federal appeals court declared California's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in San Francisco.

Lea Suzuki, San Francisco Chronicle/AP/File

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The Proposition 8 case stems from a dispute over how marriage is to be defined in the constitution and laws of California.

In 2008, faced with efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, a group of voters began collecting signatures for a referendum – Prop. 8 – to amend the state constitution to restrict marriage to one man and one woman.

Three weeks after Prop. 8 qualified for the November ballot, the state high court rejected the traditional definition of marriage and ruled that the state constitution required recognition of same-sex marriage. Between June and November 2008, the state issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples.


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