04 August 2010

Breaking News: Federal Judge Overturns Proposition 8

See the story by Jesse McKinley and John Schwartz in The New York Times.

This isn't the end of the battle—the case will very likely eventually end up in the Supreme Court. And the judge, Vaughan R. Walker, immediately stayed his decision pending appeals, so no new gay marriages will be performed in California just yet.

Some quotes:
“Proposition 8 cannot withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal
Protection Clause,” wrote Judge Walker. “Excluding same-sex couples from
marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state
interest.”

[...]

During the trial, which ended in June, plaintiffs offered evidence from
experts on marriage, sociology and political science, and emotional
testimony from the two couples who had brought the case. Proponents for
Proposition 8 offered a much more straightforward defense of the
measure, saying that same-sex marriage damaged traditional marriage as
an institution and that marriage was historically rooted in the need to
foster procreation, which same-sex unions cannot, and was thus
fundamental to the existence and survival of the human race.

But Judge Walker seemed skeptical of those claims. “Tradition alone,
however,” he wrote, “cannot form the rational basis for a law.”

Even before appeals to higher courts, Judge Walker seemed ready to
continue to hear arguments, telling both sides to submit responses to
his motion to stay the decision by Friday, at which point he could lift
or extend it.
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