Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Prop 8 Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Rules

Handing a rare and overdue victory to gay-rights supporters, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker struck down California's Proposition 8 referendum, which outlawed same-sex marriage in the state.

Sayeth the judge:
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. 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.
That's just one paragraph of a lengthy ruling, of course.

According to BBC News, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger quickly praised the ruling:
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, ... At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity.
That's a particularly welcome endorsement, because Schwarzenegger has waffled on this issue over the years, appearing at different times to be willing to follow whatever the voters decide, rejecting legislation ending marriage discrimination, saying the courts should decide, etc. I think he's got it right now. He's always at his best when he follows his basic fiscal conservative, social liberal inclinations.

All sides of this controversy have known that this ruling isn't the end of the line for the gay marriage fight. Whichever side lost in this round was sure to appeal it further up, and it will not end until it gets to the U.S. Supreme Court (where, unfortunately, the hard-Right has a safe majority). Even before this ruling was issued, the pro-Prop 8 side had filed a request for the judge to keep Prop 8 intect during the appeal.

But at least now the people supporting legalized discrimination know that not all judges are drinking their kool-aid.

If you're in the Bay Area, you have a chance to see David Boies, one half of the bipartisan power-lawyer team that argued the case against Prop 8, tomorrow (Thursday, August 5) in San Francisco.

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