It’s hard to believe it was just 14 years ago that California voters approved Proposition 8, enshrining a ban on same-sex marriage in California’s constitution. The courts ultimately deemed the measure unconstitutional. And in 2015, the nation’s highest court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in Obergefell v. Hodges.
But Prop 8 hasn’t technically gone anywhere. It’s still part of the California constitution under Article 1, Section 7.5. Some LGBTQ advocates refer to it as a “zombie” ban on gay marriage.
If the U.S. Supreme Court was to overturn Obergefell in the future, there's concern Prop 8 could become California law. If there’s one thing we know about the Court's conservative majority, it’s that they don’t mind challenging precedent. Adding to concerns, in his concurring opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization – the ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade – Justice Clarence Thomas said the Court should re-examine Obergefell next.
With fears of a future attack on same-sex marriage growing, leaders in Oakland are calling on state lawmakers to act. The City Council approved a resolution on July 26, reaffirming the city’s support for same-sex marriage and calling on the State Legislature to put a measure on the ballot that would repeal Article 1, Section 7.5. The resolution was introduced by Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan and Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao.
"It is far-past time to finally put an end to the 'zombie' Proposition 8 that remains ingrained in our constitution. As an elected official in the city of Oakland, I am urging the California State Legislature to put a measure repealing Proposition 8 onto the ballot as soon as possible," said Thao, as quoted by the Bay Area Reporter. "If we do not and the Supreme Court revokes marriage equality, millions of same-sex couples will immediately have their marriages voided and will be left to their own devices."