Federal Judge Stikes Down California’s Proposition 8

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In a landmark court challenge, a Federal judge overturned Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The ruling is expected to go to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gay and lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry in the U.S.. or, if they can be legally treated as separate but equal.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights. The litigants were represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson — a conservative and, David Boies — a liberal. Olson and Boies may be best known for representing George W. Bush and Al Gore in the contentious 2000 election results.

California voters narrowly approved Proposition 8 in November 2008. Statewide activism on the part of both the Mormons and Catholics is credited with helping deliver passage of the homophobic proposition.

Judge Vaughn Walker, writing in a 136-page ruling that laid out in precise detail why the ban does not pass Constitutional muster, said:

“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.”

Judge Vaughn Walker found Proposition 8 violates the Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses:

“Because Proposition 8 disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification, Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

In an unusual move, California Attorney General Jerry Brown and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, refused to support Proposition 8 in court.

California’s long struggle over same-sex marriage. A timeline.

This entry was posted in California, Civil Rights, Gay Marriage, LGBT, Politics, Proposition 8 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Federal Judge Stikes Down California’s Proposition 8

  1. Thai Noodles says:

    The American Taliban must be sticking their Bibles up their asses in anger and frustration over this ruling.

    Good. Move to Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq or Russia.

    You’re not needed in the USA. Scram, leave, get lost.

    We won. You lost.

  2. DMason says:

    I’m stunned. Thrilled and exhausted. I can’t even go as far as the SCOTUS. Such cases usually don’t attract the attention of the SCOTUS because this is a states rights issue and they don’t like overturning a state decision.

  3. Miss Courtet says:

    Maggie Gallagher must be on suicide watch today!

    Pssssst. Mags, cut the jugular. It’s quick and efficient.

  4. Chad Lebanon says:

    Woo Hoo! Adding Ted Olson and David Boies to my Christmas card list. Finally, that’s all I can say is, finally!

  5. bradfrmphnx says:

    I have always said that this is the only real solution to this issue. If the Supreme Court doesn’t make it law that gays and lesbians can marry, then I will always know that our system of government is a farce. This is a big step forward…I hope to hell I don’t read about a big step backward anytime in the near future. I am happy for all of my G&L friends who have suffered enough because of this discrimination. Thousands of years of being killed, or beaten because of a natural occurrence in nature is enough…

    The Supreme Court is in the batter’s box…BATTER UP!!!!

  6. fairlane says:


    and fuck the Mormons.

  7. Randy Arroyo says:

    Can’t wait to see the morning papers online. I bet all of the big dailies from the Los Angeles Times, to the New York Times, the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune all come out in support of the decision. The tide has shifted. Like Fairlane said, fuck the Mormons.

  8. Greg Equality Lengkong says:

    I love how Baby Fox News, AKA, CNN, had Wolf Blitzer opining all afternoon about how “Prop 8 had passed by a resounding manner…..,” ah, no Leslie, you filthy piece of AIPAC shit, Prop 8 squeaked by with 53% of the vote. Barely more than half. No wonder Thomas Roberts got fired from CNN when he came out as a gay man.

  9. Jim says:

    Indeed exciting and meaningful news!

  10. Jolly Roger says:

    The Klanservatives are foaming at the mouth over this one.

    They’ve been able to use bigotry to stay in power for the better part of 30 years, but it’s all falling apart on them now.

  11. R.J. says:

    This day has been a long time coming. Rejoice!

  12. feminazi says:

    What splendid news! Congratulations. This is HUGE and the gay community in California deserves it. I know it’s been a long, hard fought battle. I feel ever sure the day will arrive in my lifetime when all of America’s children are treated fairly. This decision is a beginning. From here, the nation!

  13. Capt. Wosocki says:

    I believe strongly that Government has no business legislating limits on people’s behavior unless there is a compelling reason for doing so, in so far as society is harmed in some way, as in terrorist behavior.

    The Mormon and Catholic churches have tried to make themselves the bedroom police and I think and I believe, the overwhelming majority of Americans are appalled at this behavior by organized religions.

    Gay marriage in no way or fashion harms or impairs heterosexual couples from happily marrying, or injures the institution of “traditional marriage” in any way whatsoever.

    If the institution of “traditional marriage” is under attack, it is from straight couples who have damaged the institution from their own actions. 54% of what is defined as “”traditional marriages” end by the 7th year and this stellar record can’t be blamed on gay couples.

    Heterosexuals need to take responsibility for their own behavior and action and stop looking to others to blame for their failures.

  14. Jolly Roger says:

    I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand

    My image is of agony, my servants rape the land

    Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain

    Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name

    Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law

    My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore.

    Lemmy sure has this one right.

  15. Smooch says:

    Every poll I see shows the issue of marriage equality is informed by age. Not race, income, education or even geography but, age.

    The younger the person, the more comfortable they are with gay marriage. The older the person, the less comfortable.

    I think once people over the age of 60 die off, the USA will be a fairer and kinder nation for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

    The day is coming when those who cannot accept marriage equality will simply die off. They will take their homophobia to the grave.

  16. Brigadoon says:

    I hope the 9th Circuit inoculates the decision quickly and moves any chance of the SCOTUS from adding an appeal off the calendar until next year or beyond. This will give Scalia a chance to die and Obama a chance to replace him, and Thomas a chance to lose himself in a copy of “Barely Legal.”

  17. Big Hank says:

    Gay rights in the macro sense represent the civil rights movement of the 21st century.

    We can’t hold our heads high and expect the world to view this country with respect if we engage in and practice discrimination against 7% to 10% of the US population. I say this as a straight but not narrow man in his late 50’s.

  18. Dmitris says:

    Here’s wishing Maggie Gallagher the worst ice cream headache known to humanity. Suck it, cow. We won and you lost. Now go get loaded on a 5lbs. bucket of battered and fried onion rings.

  19. Vivzzz says:

    I’m straight, married with one grown son, and I am from Canada, where gay marriage has been legal for years.

    Gay marriage has had no negative effect on my marriage whatsoever. In fact, my marriage is better than ever. Thanks for working at it as all adults must in order to have a healthy union.

    If the USA is truly is the land of the free and the home of the brave, why do your Bible thumpers want to deny, two adult men or women from marrying?

    Mind your own business, Christians.

  20. Thanks for ruining my marriage, homersexuals!

  21. okjimm says:

    well…. cool &stuff….. but I am still of the opinion that ALL marriages should be ILLEGAL! (or at least come with warning labels)

  22. Bungy says:

    I think the next thing to watch is the “stay.” If Walker decides to keep the stay, expect conservatives to try to keep this trapped in the appeals process. It will languish in the 9th Circuit before even being considered by SCOTUS.

    If Walker decides the stay is unnecessary and the marriage licenses start flowing to same sex couples in CA again, expect the conservatives to push for a speedy appeals decision (or some other authority to reinstate the stay).

    I’ve heard opinions either way for which is better for gay marriage. On the one hand, the current SCOTUS is not exactly stacked in gay rights favor. On the other hand, Walker’s analysis is clearly addressed to the legal philosophy of Justice Kennedy and his swing vote.

    Whatever the outcome, Walker’s opinion (especially the 80 findings of fact) is important — for both legal precedent and, well, history. It is definitely an important step forward. Still, I’m more than a little concerned about our culture’s habit of following such progressive moves with two (or more) steps back!

  23. stradella says:

    This was the best news I heard all day yesterday.

    Congrats and take it to the Little Chapel in Vegas before the haters take your rights away.

  24. fran says:

    I was at first thrilled to hear the news, but then thought damn! If they appeal to the current Supreme Court (assuming the 9th Circuit court of appeals agrees w the lower court) & it gets appealed to the SCOTUS, then it is stacked & equality is doomed. Then I was thrilled to hear Elena Kagan will be sworn in as a new Supreme Court Judge on Saturday.

    I have hope– she was Thurgood Marshall’s assistant.

  25. Bel Ami says:

    Kagan doesn’t change the balance of the court.

    Obama needs one more appointment to safeguard all the issues the left cares about. Like gay rights and choice.

  26. fran says:

    Bel Ami- True that.
    Still the 2 top picks for the Supreme Court got appointed– and for the first time ever, we have 3 Female Supreme Court Justices on the bench.
    Of the 112 Justices, only 4 have been female.
    More than 1/2 th U.S. Population is Female, so we are starting to get some true representation.

    When dealing with the party of NO, that’s an accomplishment.

  27. andrewclunn says:

    I’m a gay rights supporter, but I have to support Proposition 8 now because it’s now become a matter of constitutional protection and representative government.

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