Perry v. Schwarzenegger: Prop 8 Shot Down

BBC post: “A US federal judge has overturned California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.”

PFLAG alert: “Washington, D.C. – Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – PFLAG National – celebrated the U.S. District Court decision that strikes down California’s discriminatory Proposition 8 which denied the right to marry to same-sex couples in the state, stating that the measure violates the U.S Constitution.”

You can get the full text of the news releases by following the links provided above.

The ruling is expected to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.  The Roberts court rulings have followed a markedly narrower conservative ideology than in recent previous courts. With arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia likely to continue dominating a court majority, this important case is far from over.

The PFLAG release summarized the district court ruling as excerpted below:

The decision issued today in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger contends that Proposition 8 violates the Constitutional rights of equal protection and due process. In the decision, U.S. District Judge Vaughan Walker concludes that, “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license., 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.”

PFLAG also provides a link to the full court decision. The document is a massive legal form in PDF format. In the preamble, District Judge Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California states:

Having considered the trial evidence and the arguments of counsel, the court pursuant to FRCP 52(a) finds that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional and that its enforcement must be enjoined.

Governor Schwarzenegger is said to have welcomed the decision. One homophobic conservative group, “SaveCalifornia.com”, has accused Judge Walker of advancing the “homosexual agenda”, calling it a “terrible blow” to voter rights.

There has never been any explanation, however feeble, why so many “conservative” groups think that we can advance individual rights by voting to deny them to others. While Justice Walker apparently did not (and probably could not) address the broader question of whether civil rights can constitutionally even be subject to popular vote, this ruling is a step in the right direction.

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