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California chief justice Ronald M. George, who wrote the 2008 opinion striking down the state's existing statute limiting marriage to one man and one woman, announced Wednesday he won't run for retention, according to the Los Angeles Times.
George wrote in a statement, "My 70th birthday this year focused my attention on a question recently posed by my family: Why file for reelection for another 12-year term, after having authored hundreds of judicial opinions and overseen major administrative reforms in the judicial system? What more do you hope to accomplish other than refining and preserving what has been achieved? Reflection convinced me now is the right time -- while I am at the top of my game -- to leave while the proverbial music still plays, and return to private life."
George's opinion led to five months of marriage equality in California before voters passed Prop. 8 at the polls. In the majority opinion he wrote that "equal respect and dignity" of marriage is a "basic civil right" that cannot be withheld from same-sex couples.