July 16, 2008 / 9:57 PM / 11 years ago

California gay marriage ban vote to proceed

Newlyweds Sharon Papo (R) and Amber Weiss walk through City Hall after exchanging wedding vows on the first full day of legal same-sex marriages in San Francisco, California in this file photo from June 17, 2008. California voters will have the chance to vote in November on whether to end gay marriage after the state's top court declined on Wednesday to remove an initiative on the issue from the ballot.REUTERS/Erin Siegal

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California voters will have the chance to vote in November on whether to end gay marriage after the state’s top court declined on Wednesday to remove an initiative on the issue from the ballot.

California, the U.S.’s most populous state, started marrying same-sex couples a month ago after the California Supreme Court ruled that limiting marriage to a man and a woman violated the state’s constitution.

Opponents of gay marriage then placed an initiative to amend the constitution on the November ballot. “Proposition 8” declares that marriage will be limited to one man with one woman.

In the latest phase of a bitter legal battle, supporters of homosexual marriage asked the California Supreme Court to remove the issue from the ballot. The court unanimously denied the petition without detailed comment.

The referendum will appear on the same ballot as the presidential and congressional elections. It requires a simple majority for approval.

“We’re disappointed, but this ruling does not affect the campaign against Prop 8 in any way,” said a group of organizations fighting for gay rights including the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal.

California is the second U.S. state after Massachusetts to allow gay marriage, but is the only one to issue the licenses to couples from other states.

Reporting by Adam Tanner, editing by Alan Elsner

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