May 15, 2008 — SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Out & Equal Workplace Advocates applauds the California Supreme Court ruling that recognizes the fundamental right for same-sex couples to legally marry. The ruling overturns Proposition 22, a discriminatory 2000 ballot measure that recognized marriage only between a man and a woman. The ruling in favor of marriage equality was 4 to 3. This ruling paves the way for California to be the second state to legally recognize same-sex marriage.
The historic ruling came after four lawsuits on behalf of the city of San Francisco and 23 same-sex couples argued that the current law violates fundamental rights under the California Constitution to marry the partner of one's choice. In October 2007 Out & Equal, along with Levi Strauss Co., submitted an amici curiae brief (In re Marriage Cases, S147999) in support of same-sex marriage that outlined the business and economic advantages to allowing same-sex marriage.
"The California justices affirmed loud and clear that marriage should be based on a couple's love and commitment," said Out & Equal Executive Director Selisse Berry. "Thousands of committed couples will be given the societal respect, recognition and legal protections that are provided only when two individuals become legally married. Yesterday marriage in California was defined by who it excluded. Today it's defined by who is included."
Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote in the majority opinion: "Although the understanding of marriage as limited to a union of a man and a woman is undeniably the predominant one, if we have learned anything from the significant evolution in the prevailing societal views and official policies toward members of minority races and toward women over the past half-century, it is that even the most familiar and generally accepted of social practices and traditions often mask an unfairness and inequality that frequently is not recognized or appreciated by those not directly harmed by those practices or traditions."
Out & Equal believes having the right to marry is a crucial quality of life and workplace issue for all LGBT employees. Studies show that employees are more productive and businesses more competitive when all employees are treated equally. California's economic success will depend on: (1) employer's ability to recruit and retain the best employees in an increasingly competitive global marketplace, and (2) the continued diversity and innovation of the communities in which they are located.
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Out & Equal Workplace Advocates™ is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Out & Equal champions safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The organization advocates building and strengthening successful organizations that value all employees, customers, and communities. See our website, www.outandequal.org , for more details.
Press Contacts:Erik Olvera, email@example.com  or (415) 694-6512.