Verdict comes in response to lawsuit challenging Proposition 8
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the voter-approved ban, known as Proposition 8, violates due process and equal-protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.
“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples,” Walker wrote.
The judge added in the conclusion of the 136-page opinion: “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”
His ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco seeking to invalidate the law as an unlawful infringement on the civil rights of gay men and lesbians. The landmark case is expected to be appealed and could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
Outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco, a cheer went up among a group of about 70 same-sex marriage supporters carrying small U.S. flags, as a large rainbow-striped flag — the symbol of the gay rights movement — waved overhead.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr., who both refused to back Prop 8 in court, praised Walker’s decision.
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