Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Prop 8 today.
Having considered the trial evidence and the arguments of
counsel, the court pursuant to FRCP 52(a) finds that Proposition 8
is unconstitutional and that its enforcement must be enjoined.
There it is in plain English for all to see. This is an historic day for equality in our country. A federal court ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional based on the U.S. Constitution. This follows so soon after the case in Massachusetts setting aside parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. Together they make a powerful statement for equality.
Here is more from the conclusion of Judge Walker’s ruling:
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.
He also adds:
Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result, see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.
Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.
Eloquent and to the point. This is a day for celebration. Judge Walker wrote that discomfort with the idea of two people of the same gender marrying is not enough to discriminate against them! This is a huge step forward in the battle for GLBT equality. It is a huge step forward in saying that a majority cannot strip the rights of a minority out of the constitution.
The judge did issue a stay so it means that marriage won’t take place just yet. There is an appeals process and you can be sure the forces that brought us Prop 8 and defended in this court case will file an appeal almost immediately. This is far from over.
But today we can enjoy this moment. I want to see you all tonight at the rally. I will be in West Hollywood. We must come and celebrate together.
Thank you to all who worked on this case and most especially to Judge Walker.
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