Federal Judge Rules Ban on Gay Marriage in California Unconstitutional

Update – Court Rules:

Court Ruling Here: http://www.sfgate.com/chronicle/acrobat/2010/08/04/Prop-8-Ruling-FINAL.pdf?tsp=1

“After years of protests, ballot box fights, and legal wrangling, today wraps up a landmark case: the first federal trial to decide whether states can prohibit gay and lesbian couples from legally tying the knot.

The judges ruling is imminent and then we will know whether, Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage, will stand.

If it does, it’s a victory for voters rights …. & another huge setback for gay rights activists who’ve already lost at the ballot box & at the state court level.

If Prop. 8 is ruled unconstitutional, that’s a slap in the faces of nearly 7-million Californians who voted, in November, 2008, to limit marriage to a man & a woman, and to put that definition in the state constitution.

The federal lawsuit was brought by two same-sex couples who said the ban violates their civil rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Presiding over the trial was Vaughn Walker, one of only two openly gay federal judges.

Witnesses gave testimony for 13 days in January– proceedings that were punctuated by heated and often emotional debate– inside and outside the courtroom.

Supporters argued the ban was critical to protect the institution of traditional marriage, and to encourage responsible childbearing with kids raised by a mother and father.

Opponents said that “tradition” or fears of causing harm to heterosexual unions did not meet the legal standard to allow for discrimination against gay couples.

There was a long break before closing arguments were held in the middle of June, after which most courtroom observers said the plaintiffs — the opponents of Prop. 8- presented a stronger case.

In fact, lawyers who argued on behalf of Prop. 8 have already filed papers to stay the judges decision if they lose, so that gay couples cannot marry pending an appeal.

Opponents of the ban have also promised to file an appeal if the ruling is not in their favor.

Regardless of which side files, that would move the issue just a few blocks away– to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it’s widely believed the legality of gay marriage nationwide will be determined once and for all.”


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