State sponsored segregation was legal throughout most of the country; particularly in the south, until the judicial branch of the federal government (i.e. The Supreme Court) found these laws unconstitutional.<quoted text>
Gay people ALWAYS had the right to marry, along with every other American, and actually exercised that right, even fathered, or gave birth to, children, with their respective (opposite sex) husband or wife.
The people of California voted to constitutionally define marriage, as it had been defined, for all of American history, as a union of husband/man AND wife. What was taken away was the right to participate, by the voter, in the constitutional process.
If left up to the individual states and their legislators, who knows how long, if ever, these laws would have remained in place.
This is why the Fourteenth Amendment is so important in determining the rights of U.S. citizens. States and their residents CANNOT determine the rights of U.S. citizens.