(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, via Digby.)
Exciting news this Wednesday, as federal district court judge Vaughn Walker has ruled that CA Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage in California on a narrow vote, is unconstitutional. Here's the key section:
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 anddefendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
You can read the whole decision (136 pages) here or here (PDF). I haven't read it yet, but have heard some general praise for its detail, thoroughness and persuasiveness. I'm sure more comprehensive analyses will be out shortly.
This is far from over. As David Dayen and karoli at Crooks and Liars note, Judge Walker has issued a temporary stay until Friday while the Prop 8 supporters file a request for a longer stay. They don't want his ruling to go into effect while they appeal Walker's decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, although it's likely this one will go all the way to Supreme Court. However, that process will probably take a few years. From what I've read so far, this means new gay marriages will probably remain illegal in California in the interim. (As the LA Times explains, "An estimated 18,000 same-sex couples married in California during the months it was legal, and the state continues to recognize those marriages.") Still, this rulling is an important victory.
The LA Times has much, much more. Here's their main article, one on reactions, a timeline, a good photo gallery, and editorials - one and two.
World O' Crap passes on Truth Wins Out's roundup of initial far right reactions, and also links this fun, satirical piece on the trial:
Roy Edroso also finds some real wingnut gems – and I'm sure many, many more will be coming.
I wrote a couple of fairly extensive posts on Prop. 8 back in 2008: one and two. Oh, and don't forget the Prop. 8 musical! While mild homophobia is one thing, working to deny a minority group essential rights is quite another. And as the posts outline, the Prop. 8 proponents consistently lied. I also think this "No on 8" ad featuring Sam Jackson is worth revisiting:
It really puts it in perspective, doesn't it?
However, now that it's the homophobic Prop. 8 supporters facing the setback, we might as well admit that all their paranoid fantasies were true and their worst fears will now be realized. Don't be fooled by all those sweet photos of loving couples! Gay couples don't just want to live their lives in peace and happiness. They're power-mad, just like Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich, and prone to cackling evilly in trendy bistros and at art shows, mostly because they know that absolutely nothing can stop the spread of
(The video's out of synch, but it's still, what's the word? Fabulous.)
Of course, to perform the song in the proper style shown here, in some churches, some big hair women will have to tamp down their 'dos, and the preachers will to dress less flamboyantly.
Seriously, congratulations to all the gay couples out there, and here's hoping the appeals process yields swift and wise decisions. This ruling could have a positive ripple effect throughout the nation.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)