The California Supreme Court heard arguments on March 4 that everyone in the state should be able to build loving families and enjoy the honor, commitment, dignity and security that come with marriage.
The ACLU and other groups that represent both same-sex and heterosexual couples have challenged the constitutionality of denying some couples the benefits and protections of marriage in the state.
"How the court rules on this case will send a message to all couples in this state about its commitment to fairness and equality," said ACLU/SC Executive Director Ramona Ripston. "Barring same-sex couples from the legal protections that come through marriage is unfair and unconstitutional."
The groups argued that the state's domestic partnership law doesn't provide the same security as marriage, and creates second-class families. "Words matter; names matter," an attorney told the justices.
The case stems from San Francisco's historic decision in 2004 to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court now has until June to issue its landmark ruling.