The voters twice voted to clearly define marriage, as it had always been understood, as amnion of one man and one woman. No rights were voted on.<quoted text>be careful wishing for civil rights to be up for a vote... cause the next vote might just be to take one of yours
Prior to 1977, marriage was defined in Section 4100 of the California Civil Code. This stated that marriage is "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract, to which consent of the parties making that contract is necessary". While related sections of the law made references to sex, a State Assembly committee that was debating adding sex-specific terms to this section in 1977 noted: "Under existing law it is not clear whether partners of the same sex can get married". That year, the legislature amended the legal definition of marriage to remove any ambiguity. In 1992 the legal definition of marriage was moved from the Civil Code to Section 300 of the Family Code.
When Proposition 22 came before voters, marriage was defined in the Family Code as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary" [italics added].
Even though the definition governing who may marry explicitly precluded contracting a same-sex marriage in California, a separate provision, Section 308, governed recognition of marriages contracted elsewhere. This stated that a "marriage contracted outside this state that would be valid by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the marriage was contracted is valid in this state". Advocates of Proposition 22 described Section 308 as a "loophole", apparently forcing California to recognize a same-sex marriage validly contracted in some other state.
To address this, Proposition 22 did not reword the existing provisions of the Family Code, but added to them the declaration that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California". The official citation of Proposition 22, the "California Defense of Marriage Act", is almost the same as that of a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted by Congress in 1996. This federal law had a similar purpose, and was intended to prevent any state from being obligated to recognize a same-sex marriage contracted in another state.