In 1948, the California Supreme Court recognized marriage as a fundamental right when it became the first state court in the country to strike down a law prohibiting interracial marriage. The California Supreme Court held that:
Marriage is thus something more than a civil contract subject to regulation by the state; it is a fundamental right of free men. There can be no prohibition of marriage except for an important social objective and by reasonable means. No law within the broad areas of state interest may be unreasonably discriminatory or arbitrary.... The right to marry is as fundamental as the right to send one’s child to a particular school or the right to have offspring. Indeed, “We are dealing here with legislation which involves one of the basic civil rights of man. Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.” (Skinner v. Oklahoma, supra, at p. 541.) Legislation infringing such rights must be based upon more than prejudice and must be free from oppressive discrimination to comply with the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection of the laws.