In 1964, California voters, by initiative and referendum in Proposition 14, passed Article I, § 26 as an amendment to the California Constitution. Article I, § 26 prohibited the State of California from making any laws that prohibited the right of property owners to discriminate against potential renters for any reason. The Mulkeys (plaintiffs) were a husband and wife who sued the Reitmans (defendants) under §§ 51 and 52 of the California Civil Code, alleging that the Reitmans refused to rent them an apartment solely on account of their race. Sections 51 and 52 of the California Civil Code prohibited race-based discrimination in property rentals. The Reitmans argued that §§ 51 and 52 were made null and void after passage of Article I, § 26 through Proposition 14. The California Supreme Court found that Proposition 14 impermissibly entangled the State of California in private discrimination and held Article I, § 26 unconstitutional. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.