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.