Proposition 8 in California Ruled Unconstitutional
by Charles Lemos, Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 06:12:26 PM EDT
US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco has struck down the California anti-gay marriage voter initiative known as Proposition 8 which had amended the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Ruling on Perry et al v. Schwarzenegger et al, which was filed by Republican attorney Ted Olson and Democratic attorney David Boies, Judge Walker found that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.
From the decision:
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 oppositesex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
More from the San Francisco Chronicle:
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker found that the ban on same-sex marriage violated the constitutional due process and equal protection rights of a pair of couples - one lesbian and one gay - who sued.
The judge ordered an injunction against enforcement of Prop. 8 but issued a temporary stay until he decides whether to suspend his ruling while it is being appealed. The stay means that same-sex couples are still prohibited from marrying.
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license," Walker wrote in a 136-page ruling.
He said the ballot measure "prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis."
The constitutional right to marry, Walker said, "protects an individual's choice of marital partner regardless of gender." He also said domestic partnerships in California, available to same-sex couples, are a "substitute and inferior institution" that lack the social meaning and cultural status of marriage.
Gov. Schwarzenegger issued a statement saying, "For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves."
Prop. 8's sponsors are planning an immediate appeal.
It's pretty quiet right here in the Castro but I suspect that in a few hours there will be a gathering down at Harvey Milk Plaza on Market & Castro to celebrate. I should note that the trial court has granted a stay of entry of judgment until the motion for a stay pending appeal can be decided. The plaintiffs must respond by August 6. The ruling is expected to be appealed to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the US Supreme Court.
The full ruling is below the fold.