Chief U.S. District JudgeVaughn Walker of San Francisco will decide whether Proposition 8, the November 2008 initiative that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, violated gays' and lesbians' right of equality under the U.S. Constitution.
After court officials on Tuesday announced plans to release the decision, Prop. 8's sponsors filed papers making it clear they expect to lose this round. They asked Walker, if he rules against them, to leave the ban on same-sex marriages in place while they appeal.
Lawyers for Prop. 8's backers told the judge they were confident that any such ruling would be overturned on appeal. They said a stay would honor the will of the voters and would not harm same-sex couples, who can still register as domestic partners.
Walker presided over a nonjury trial in January, the first ever held in a federal court on the issue. The plaintiffs, two gay men from Burbank and two lesbians from Berkeley, testified that their hopes to be married were thwarted when voters overturned the May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.
The plaintiffs' witnesses also included researchers who said sexual orientation has no relationship to successful parenting and that marriage in the United States is an evolving institution.
The conservative religious coalition that sponsored Prop. 8 offered testimony that the male-female definition of marriage is universal and that children are better off with married, biological parents.
The city of San Francisco joined the lawsuit on the plaintiffs' side. Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to defend Prop. 8 and said he considers it unconstitutional.
Walker's ruling, due sometime between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., is certain to be appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 or 2012.
A group that supports same-sex marriage has announced a march from the Castro District to City Hall, starting at 5 p.m., followed by a rally from 6:45 to 8 p.m.Judge Declares Proposition 8 Unconstitutional Walker In a 136-page ruling, Judge Vaughn Walker has declared Proposition 8, the measure banning same-sex marriage in California, unconstitutional under both the due-process and equal-protection clauses. Says the ruling: “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.” Read the ruling below. We'll have further analysis soon...
PS I'm leaving soon, unfortunately, so if anyone wants to start their own live post, feel free to do so.
UPDATE 2!!! BREAKING: Prop 8 ruled unconstitutional August 4, 2010 by Adam Bink I just finished reading the meat of the decision. Chief Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled Prop 8 is unconstitutional on both Equal Protection and Due Process grounds. Huge win. The decision is likely to be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Developing… UPDATE (1:43 PST): Here’s the conclusion from the decision. CONCLUSION 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. REMEDIES 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. Thank you bnmc2005