BREAKING NEWS: Judge overturns California gay marriage ban

by on August 4, 2010 · 17 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, History

Verdict comes in response to lawsuit challenging Proposition 8

NBC/ msnbc

rainbow-flagSAN FRANCISCO — In a major victory for gay rights advocates, a federal judge on Wednesday struck down a California ban on same-sex marriage.

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.

Read the judge’s ruling (.PDF)

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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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

nunya August 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm



Abby August 4, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Great news! Everyone deserves the same rights as everyone else.


Andy Cohen August 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Wow! Big blow to the Mormon Church!

Don’t worry though……when it gets to the Supreme Court, John Roberts, Sam Alito, and their cronies won’t allow it to stand. This is, after all, the most conservative Supreme Court in U.S. history. No way they let common sense interfere with their mission of imposing Christian ideology in contorting the U.S. Constitution.


sunshine August 4, 2010 at 5:09 pm

if someone is lucky enough to find someone to love ~ and be loved in return ~ then only the Creator can decide if marriage is for them. it’ll never be up to the courts to decide. seems to me that they are involved because they found a way to generate more income for the legal system and a way for big business from giving out benefits to partners.

Damn, big business and greedy interests strike again … when will it all stop?


lane tobias August 4, 2010 at 5:56 pm

celebrating and toasting from new jersey. what a long road to equality….and what a great promise to future generations of lovers.


john August 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm

I love to blast conservatives as much as anyone and think their stance on gay rights in general is absurd if not criminal, but from my observation many of the gays who have married when the political climate allowed it only invited the backlash from the church people by often insisting they hold the marriage ceremonies themselves in churches and contemptuously mock their traditions by putting grooms in dresses, etc. This tends to question the point it’s about rights and equality and more about getting in the face of the religious, well you can do that but then why complain when you get the reaction you were seeking?
(don’t take this as an argument against gay marriage but against disingenuous positions.)


Andy Cohen August 4, 2010 at 9:38 pm

That’s not true. I would guess that a majority of those marriages took place at city halls, such as the ones Gavin Newsom in San Francisco performed. The churches still have every right to decide not to conduct same-sex marriage ceremonies, although a few do. But for a while–and apparently again–it was an absolute right for couples to marry in civil ceremonies conducted by public officials.


john August 8, 2010 at 9:53 am

Well to be honest it was a “subjective” observation based upon media coverage of the issue when it was a hot subject, and I recall every time they did a spot on the 6 oclock news on it they’d show two guys in dresses walking down the aisle at what was unmistakably a real church.
So whether that was the only gay marriage that ever went on in a church or one of hundreds I can’t say.
Even though their particular church doesn’t have to have them you can’t deny that seeing such a thing on TV, even if blown out of proportion by the media, might piss them off.


annagrace August 4, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Does anyone think there’s a chance that the Supremes won’t hear the case and let it devolve to the states? That could be far worse or at least just as bad as a decision from the most conservative Supreme Court that this country has ever seen.


Bill August 12, 2010 at 11:40 am

If the 9th Circuit upholds the decision, it doesn’t matter if the Supreme Court hears it, does it? That’s a Federal precedent then and other Federal courts have to defer to that decision? I’m not an attorney but I think that’s how it works. I suppose that other states could try to write their own laws that circumvent this decision. Stuff happens.

I don’t really see, though, how the Supreme Court can side with Prop 8 supporters. If you set aside all the gay issues on both sides and just look at what Prop 8 does, exclude a certain group of people from rights that others enjoy, it is just patently unconstitutional. I may be naive but I don’t believe that any group on the Supreme Court decides many things based on their own personal feelings but are primarily charged with interpreting the law. They are not kings and queens. I would have faith that they would perform this way. If the opposite were true, Roe vs. Wade would have been overturned long ago since conservatives have had a majority for some time.


Edwin Decker August 5, 2010 at 12:08 am

John, I got married at a drive-thru window at the Special Memory Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas in a limo with me, my wife, and about 15 of my very drunk friends. The cleric who married us was called “Da Rev” and he gaped at my wife’s breasts throughout the ceremony. When we pulled up to the window there was a menu, just like at a fast food restaurant drive thru, for us to choose the wedding package we wanted. We call it the McMarriage. I think a lot of people would consider that wedding a mockery of traditional marriage, but I maintain it’s not how/where you get married, but how you respect your marriage itself, that matters.

By the way, check out my column about repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tel which, coincidentally, came out today. I don’t usually like to self-promote on comment strings, but the timing is too perfect.



dave rice August 5, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Caught your piece earlier today, without the prompting – spot fuckin’ on, as usual. Nice coincidence with the timing on the release too…


Jon August 5, 2010 at 11:27 am

I checked with my wife this morning, and thankfully, our marriage has not been affected by this ruling. whew, that was close.


Jon August 5, 2010 at 11:40 am

Scratch that last comment. The marriage is still fine, but the sanctity of it is all fucked up now.


Frank Gormlie August 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

You know Jon, there will be a huge opening at OB Comedy come this October. I think we’ve spotted the replacement. You are too funny simply for the thousand people who read this blog daily. Its time to go to the big time – Winstons!


kenloc August 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Finally some equality on the marriage front. Why should straight people be the only ones made to suffer? Gay people rejoice!


Diane5150 August 5, 2010 at 9:48 pm

A great victory. WE have the right to define ourselves.


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