[A]ffording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.
I think this is one of the most important parts of the California Supreme Court (CSC) decision in regards to gay marriage (aside from actually allowing it). It establishes a clear boundary between marriage as an institution recognized by a government and one recognized by a religion. Many religions refuse to recognize marriages not performed in the context of their religion. Those religions also often require that both people be part of that religion before the marriage is allowed. That is the religions right, just as any individual can refuse to recognize a couples marriage. The government, on the other hand, can’t set boundaries on marriage unless the laws allow it. The CSC clearly stuck to this line, requiring that the government recognize civil unions as marriages because the state constitution trumps any laws passed.
That said, if the people of California decide that a marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that similar same-sex institutions should be called “civil unions” (a rose by any other name…), then they will have to do so in their constitution. It will be interesting to see if the people of California will follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents, who recognized inter-racial marriages, or if they will follow in the steps of the other states and constitutionally enact a one man/one womand definition of marriage.