How did we get here? Let's go take the Way Back Machine and see.
We start in 2004 when Gavin (gaw-- that was one wife and at least three girlfriends ago) decided to allow gay couples in the city to get married. After a month or so of that, the State Supreme Court ruled all those marriages invalid based on Prop. 22 (the Knight Amendment from 2000) which declared a marriage to be between a man, a woman and their divorce lawyers. The Court, however, refused to rule on the validity of the marriage issue and threw the hot potato back to the lower courts where it eventually made its way back to the Supreme Court.
A few months ago, a state appellate court ruled 2-1 that the gay marriage bill can stand if the state makes it so gay couples who register as domestic partners have the same rights as married straight couples. It is that decision that the Supreme Court is now reviewing. In an unusual twist, State Attorney General Bill Lockyer sided with the opponents of the law (the pro-gay marriage side) because he thought it was a matter of such importance that he felt it should be heard by the highest court in the state. Also, a bill to make gay marriage legal in the state, pushed by Mark Leno, was passed by the California legislature but was vetoed by the Governor back when he was trying to be conservative.
The court is not expected to hear the case until next fall.
This is on the heels of a recent ruling in New Jersey that gay couples are entitled to have the same rights as married couples in the state. Which means that so far, gay couples can at least have civil unions or domestic partnerships in Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Massachusets, New Jersey, California, and Dick Cheney's house.
Look, SFist Rita, Gavin's wearing a black tie!