May 16,2008 00:00
SACRAMENTO -- A California Supreme Court decision overturning the state's ban on gay marriage has reignited a nationwide political wildfire of debate, activists said Friday.
The order likely put the spotlight directly on the November presidential election that USA Today says probably will galvanize activists on both sides.
The California court's 4-3 decision would go into effect in 30 days but activists against same-sex marriage said they planned to ask that it be stayed until after the general election, giving voters a chance to weigh in on the issue, The Washington Times said. Otherwise, the report said, the door would be open for a "chaotic" situation.
The California court rejected arguments about the importance of preserving traditional marriage, saying the exclusion "works a real and appreciable harm upon same-sex couples and their children."
Chief Justice Ronald George, who wrote for the majority in the ruling, said the right to marry cannot be denied to couples based on their sexual orientation.
A proposed ballot initiative in California in November would attempt to reverse Thursday's decision by defining marriage as between only a man and a woman.
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