Judge rules California's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

(CNN) -- A federal judge in California on Wednesday overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying the voter-approved rule violated the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians.

The decision, issued by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco, is an initial step in what will likely be a lengthy legal fight over California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

At stake in the trial was whether California's ban on same-sex marriage violated the constitutional rights to equal protection and due process of two gay couples that want to marry.

The case was watched closely by both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, as many say it is likely to wind its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, the case could end in a landmark decision on whether people in the United States are allowed to marry people of the same sex.

"We are thrilled with today's ruling, which affirms that the protections enshrined in our U.S. Constitution apply to all Americans and that our dream of equality and freedom deserves protection," said Geoff Kors, executive director for Equality California, shortly after the decision.

Read the rest here.


Honestly, this is the best news I've heard in a while.  The whole Supreme Court battle will be interesting, to put things mildly, especially with as many catholics on the court as people have pointed out here ... but it's possible that just a little bit of sanity has just been injected into the issue of gay/Lesbian marriage and sexual preference in general in the United States.

About time.


*** UPDATE ***

I would like to include part of the wording of the decision handed down by Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker:

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples."

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Replies to This Discussion

Well, before everyone starts popping champagne corks, you should realize this is only one step after the opening "shot across the bow" that Proposition 8 did. The homophobic religious (primarily Mormon) right wingers pumped money into the ballot box and bought an election. The rationalists challenged it in Court, and won the next battle. But that was at the trial level. If you think the fight is over, I've some ocean front property in Topeka, Kansas, you might be interested in.

The next battle will be in the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and from there, the U.S Supreme Court, who have a majority of conservative Catholics. As to public opinion, as far as a federal judge is concerned, take your public opinion and cram it in a body cavity of your choosing. For those who are old enough to recall, former Chief Justice Earl Warren (of the Warren Commission on the Kennedy Assassination fame) had nationwide calls for his impeachment after Brown v. Board of Education and Miranda v. Arizona. He retired in peace and prosperity.

The primary argument, in my humble opinion, will be the "Full Faith and Credit" clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State." By example, Illinois prohibits common law marriage and marriage between first cousins. But, South Carolina has common law marriage and Kentucky allows first cousin marriage. Two couples, one common law married in South Carolina and the other being first cousins from Kentucky, both move to Illinois. Illinois is required to give 'full faith and credit' to both of those marriages, even though prohibited under Illinois law. Why? Because Article IV of the US Constitution says so. End of argument.

Now, translate that to same sex couples being married from Massachusetts, California, etc, and moving to Tennessee, South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, etc., and asking John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy to force that down the homophophic throats (every pun intended) of the red(neck) states.

While cautiously optimistic, I'll take the "wait and see" position for the time being.
I'll be honest. If this doesn't go through, I'll no longer be willing to live in this country.

The day that this fails is the day I start looking for ways out. I just can't live in a place that can't leave gay people alone. I don't get it. It's totally inconceivable to me that this is even an issue. It's bad enough knowing that every other person I see can't leave how other people love each other alone; it's worse that I indirectly support this bullshit through my taxes.

I can't deal with that.

"Love it or leave it," I've always heard. I haven't really loved it, and now it's just annoying.
I hear that. Its hard to love a country that treats me like an inferior species. Although there are much, much worse places to live.
This situation reminds me so very much of the previous national debate about inter-racial marriage.

Right down to the religious components, screaming about it being 'un-natural', leading to 'perversions', etc.

I'm fairly confident that America will eventually recognise same-sex unions, as far as exactly 'when', that's another story. IMO
DUG, the parallels with the miscegenation laws are really striking, and I agree that the end result will be the same for gay marriage; it will be legal and societally accepted (except by fringe groups). It's just a question of when and how much pain it takes to get there. But we'll definitely get there.
You just gotta LOVE stuff like this!



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