Of course the top story that is buzzing around the internet, starting at about 5:00 p.m. Wedsnesday evening (EDT), was Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker’s eagerly awaited ruling that threw out Proposition 8, the amendment that had banned same-sex marriage in California. Judge Walker’s language is strong and unequivocal. We shall let Judge Walker’s words say it all. (Quoted from David Dayen--Digby’s dday--in Firedoglake: [Here]
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.
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.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
The decision was immediately appealed and the judge ordered a stay of the decision until the appeal process is carried out. Thus there will not be a festival of gay marriages in San Francisco tomorrow, but there will be continued jubilation throughout the country over this court’s decision.
It was interesting to note that the judge mentioned the 18,000 same-sex marriages that have already taken place in California. I wonder how many more couples are eagerly waiting for the stay to be lifted.
And another interesting note: Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown chose not to defend Prop 8. Whether Meg Whitman, if she wins the governorship, and whoever wins the Attorney General race in November wish to put in their oars with another suit to defend Prop 8, we do not know. Let us hope not and let us hope that other states such as New York will soon join the five states which now allow same sex marriage, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa.
Wouldn’t it be grand if the White House showed some real leadership on this issue? But that certainly is expecting much too much from folks who so easily and quickly threw Shirley Sherrod under the bus.
In the meantime, let us thank Judge Vaughn Walker.