- Story Highlights
- Justices say gay couples just as capable as as anyone to raise kids
- Governor says he will respect ruling, not pursue the matter further
- Opponent calls ruling "worst kind of judicial activism"
- State Supreme Court rules law unconstitutional on equal-protection grounds
(CNN) -- The California Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Thursday, saying sexual orientation, like race or gender, "does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights."
In a 4-3 120-page ruling issue, the justices wrote that "responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation."
"We therefore conclude that in view of the substance and significance of the fundamental constitutional right to form a family relationship, the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all Californians, whether gay or heterosexual, and to same-sex couples as well as to opposite-sex couples," Chief Justice Ronald George wrote for the majority.