1991 - Present

Censorship: 2004

In a case brought on behalf of a broad coalition of artists, health educators, and writers, including poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who use the Internet to communicate constitutionally protected speech, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds an injunction against the Child Online Protection Act because it violates the First Amendment.

LGBT Rights: 2004

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom authorizes the County Clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Longtime activists Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons are the first couple married. The state supreme court orders the City to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples and invalidates the more than 4,000 marriages that have taken place.

Race: 2004

Eli Williams and Arnold SchwarzeneggerEli Williams and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger settles Williams v. California and provides funding for substandard schools to purchase educational materials, fix deteriorating schools, hire qualified teachers, and ensure access to textbooks and sanitary and safe campuses.

Women: 2005, 2007, 2008

Anti-choice forces put initiatives on the state ballot requiring teenagers to have parental consent to obtain an abortion, in an attempt to circumvent the supreme court’s 1997 ruling; the measure fails every year.

Immigrants' Rights: 2006

Massive immigrants’ rights marches in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Federal government launches “Operation Return to Sender.” Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers raid workplaces and immigrant neighborhoods. Because the program’s scope is broad, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents are interrogated, threatened and detained.

Criminal Justice: 2008

After ruling in Kincaid v. Fresno that the city of Fresno’s practice of seizing and destroying the personal possessions of homeless residents violated their constitutional rights, federal judge Oliver W. Wanger approves a settlement in which the city contributes to an account for the homeless plaintiffs to meet housing-related costs, including security deposits, first and last month’s rent, or monthly rental payments.

LGBT Rights: 2008

Reaction to supreme court decision in In re Marriage CasesReaction to supreme court decision in In re Marriage CasesCalifornia Supreme Court issues a landmark ruling in In re Marriage Cases that the law against same-sex marriage violates the state constitution and that discrimination against lesbians and gay men merits the most rigorous form of judicial review: strict scrutiny. Over 18,000 same-sex couples marry between June and November.

See the marriage ceremony of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon: 

Voters narrowly pass Proposition 8, revising the state constitution to limit marriage only to the union of a man and a woman.

LGBT Rights: 2009

Proposition 8Proposition 8State supreme court refuses to strike down Proposition 8 but upholds the legality of same-sex marriages that took place in California between June and November 2008, when Proposition 8 passed.

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