Yesterday, following a decision from San Francisco Federal Justice Vaughn Walker, California’s Proposition 8 was found to be unconstitutional and was overturned.
“Plaintiffs seek to have the state recognize their committed relationships, and plaintiffs’ relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition and practice of marriage in the United States,” wrote Justice Walker, of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Walker wrote that 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 Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”
The 2008 California ballot measure that banned same-sex couples from marrying faced legal challenges when the American Foundation for Equal Rights sued the state. The attorneys who argued against each other in Bush v. Gore, Theodore Olson and David Boies, argued Perry v. Schwarzenegger on behalf of two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco.
The two main arguments in the case were that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause because it discriminates based on sex and that it violates the Due Process Clause because it restricts the fundamental right of marriage.
In October at a pretrial hearing, the judge said to pro Prop-8 attorney Charles Cooper, “I’m asking you to tell me how [marriage equality] would harm opposite-sex marriages….”
Cooper responded, “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Suing California was a controversial move in the marriage equality movement. Some gay marriage supporters argued it would create a backlash in the courts and would be counter productive to the cause.
Olson said of the case, “If there was ever a trial in the history of our country that the American people should have seen, it was this one.”
Attorneys arguing on behalf of Proposition 8 said they would appeal the decision and have already petitioned for a stay to prevent a window of legal gay marriage in California.
Metro Weekly has a link to the 130+ page decision.
Does this mean you should begin planning your wedding trip to San Fransisco, the Napa Valley, Palm Springs or West Hollywood? Well, not quite yet.
Judge Walker has temporarily put a hold on his order until Friday, giving supporters of Proposition 8 the opportunity to file an appeal and requesting a long-term stay. So for now, that action will delay the resumption of same-sex marriage licenses being issued.
But it’s worth staying tuned… Love and equality will prevail (hopefully!).