On page 100 of the 124-page ruling, in dense legal prose, Chief Justice Ronald George ruled that a special constitutional protection applies to people based on their sexual orientation.
In essence, the court said discrimination against gays and lesbians was equivalent to racial, age or gender discrimination, giving same-sex-rights advocates a powerful legal weapon in the future.
Already the first echoes of that determination are being heard in some of the arguments that will be made in the upcoming challenge to Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure that rebuked the main aspect of the court's May ruling and declared that only marriages between men and women are valid.
The special protection the court gave in May – which Proposition 8 does not affect – means that any state law or policy that is alleged to discriminate against gays and lesbians now will be analyzed under the most stringent legal standard a court can apply. Few laws survive such a test, known as “strict scrutiny.”
No other state supreme court in the United States has gone so far in giving gays and lesbians such legal status.
I pointed this out, many times, in Prop 8 debates. The judge's ruling expanded the set of things over which dissenters from Gay Orthodoxy can be sued, and the ruling made it more difficult for such dissenters to defend themselves.
In fact, this article is inaccurate in one respect: sexual orientation now recieves greater legal protection in CA than does sex discrimination itself. I reported on this during the campaign. The point is, that this ruling significantly expanded the scope of the anti-discrimination law. I have often cited this as an example of how the marriage statutes and the anti-discrimination statutes can not be separated as neatly as some advocates of ssm seem to suggest.
Honestly, I thought that a Yes vote on Prop 8 would overturn the entire ruling by the judge, and I argued on that basis. I consider that reason enough for any fair-minded person to vote Yes on Prop 8.