Proposition 8 ruled unconstitutional
It’s all over the news, Facebook, blogs, etc. and I’m getting frequent e-mails and text messages, but in case you haven’t heard yet, a federal judge ruled California’s Prop 8 unconstitutional today.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker used the strongest possible reasoning in his ruling that California can’t deny same-sex couples marriage licenses. (For the legally minded among you, he said it failed both strict scrutiny and rational basis tests.)
The judge stayed his ruling pending the appeal that’s already in the works, and I think we can fully expect this case to make its way all to the U.S. Supreme Court. But we should be very grateful we have such a strong decision to work off of, which you can read in full here (PDF). For those without the appetite for a 138-page legal document, here’s how Judge Walker sums it up:
CONCLUSIONProposition 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 itsconstitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.REMEDIESPlaintiffs 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.VAUGHN R WALKER
“The President has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory. He will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans.”