[JURIST] The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments [recorded audio; case materials] Tuesday in consolidated cases challenging California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. In 2006, the state Attorney General requested [JURIST report] that the Court review an intermediate appellate court's decision to uphold [JURIST report] the same-sex marriage ban. Plaintiffs in In re Marriage Cases argued that the right to marry is protected by the California Constitution [text]. Plaintiffs also compared the ban against gay marriage to California's old ban against interracial marriage, which was struck down by the Court's decision in Perez v. Sharp [PDF text] in 1948. California Deputy Attorney General Christopher Krueger, representing the state, argued that California's traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman has "stood the test of time" and was approved by the state legislature in 1977 [California Code 300-310, text].
The lawsuits stem from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2005 decision to issue marriage licenses to 4,000 same-sex couples. The Court must rule in 90 days. The San Francisco Chronicle has more. AP has additional coverage.