California's Prop 8 declared unconstitutional
You can find out more here;
The homophobes have already started the appeal process.
Judge Vaughn Walker
In a 136-page ruling, Judge Vaughn Walker has declared Proposition 8, the measure banning same-sex marriage in California, unconstitutional under both the due-process and equal-protection clauses.
Says the ruling's conclusion:
"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."
And its remedies:
"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.”
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From the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Dear ACLU Supporter,
It's a great day for fairness!
In a decision that dramatically alters the landscape on marriage fairness, a federal judge has struck down California's Proposition 8—the ballot initiative that excluded same-sex couples from marriage in the state.
Today's ruling makes clear that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and strikes at the heart of the extremist-driven campaign to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry. And it's a huge turning point in the decades-long struggle for equality.
Prop 8 proponents have already announced that they will appeal this first-ever federal court decision striking down a gay marriage ban. And it is likely that this case will eventually end up in the Supreme Court.
You can help pave the way for victory there. Sign the ACLU pledge to keep working until same-sex couples are allowed to marry everywhere in America.
Today's ruling shows that we can stop extremist forces who want to impose their own narrow view of morality on the rest of us.
But we must do more than that. We must demonstrate that there is a national consensus in support of marriage and other relationship protections for same-sex couples in states across the country. Every step forward will make it harder for the Supreme Court to rule that Prop 8 and similar exclusions from marriage are consistent with the Constitution.
That's why it's so essential to win more victories as critical same-sex marriage bills and relationships lawsuits are decided in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, Montana and elsewhere. The ACLU is centrally involved in each of these efforts—and we need you to stand with us.
The more victories we win, the harder it will be for extremists intent on blocking our progress to succeed.
Commit to working until same-sex couples are allowed to marry all across America. Sign the ACLU Pledge.
You can count on the ACLU to defend LGBT rights in courtrooms, classrooms, and legislative hearings all across the nation. But we can't do it without you.
Thanks for standing with us.
Director, ACLU LGBT Project
P.S. This can be a dramatic turning point, but only if we commit to building on today's landmark decision. Please sign the ACLU Pledge to keep working until victory is achieved. And please, pass this message on so that we can add more voices to our call for equality.
Petition is located at: hxxps://secure.aclu.org/site/SPageNavigator/Prop8_Petition?s_subsrc=1007803_prop8
Sending a thank you to the plaintiffs that made this happen is available at: hxxps://secure3.convio.net/hrc/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=900&utm_source=Convio&utm_medium=email&utm_term=link-1&utm_campaign=breaking-historic-victory-for-marriage
Please note that BOTH of the above links start with an https (secure site) and not an http URL.
More information at: hxxp://www.hrc.org/prop8decision/?utm_source=Convio&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-historic-victory-for-marriage
trentreviso last edited by
It's good news, but the fight isn't over by a long shot.
This will end up in the Supreme Court, which is the only ruling that matters.
And given the extreme conservatism of that court, I'm not that optimistic that we will prevail in the end.
I was also concerned about the future of the decision made by Judge Walker. However, after reading several articles about this decision, I am no longer as concerned. The wording in the 136 page "Decision" is fairly simple and direct. I no longer think that it will be easy to debate the issue any longer, not only in California but Nation Wide. A considerable precedent has been set now.
Mind you, I do not think the struggle is over but I now believe the fight for Gay Rights is nearing an end for the USA. All the more reason to become vocal about your opinions on the issues and get involved with any organization that is fighting the good fight on behalf of Gay Rights.
The Prop 8 Ruling: Same-Sex Marriage Wins a Sweeping Legal Victory
From POLITICS DAILY
Always remember <–----> !(http://tracker.gaytorrent.ru/bitbucket/Gay rights.gif)
cumeaternc last edited by
A great day has arrived for gays in California seeking marriage. My fear this ruling will make America more divided instead of it's true intention to promote tolerance and understanding. I have said this before but I want to be clear…I am Bi so I am looking at this from a slightly different point of view.(which is not a gay pov in some part)
For the majority that voted for Prop8 in Cali. it will come as a signal that the government is ignoring the will of the people. For those who have sought equal rights under the law it will come as a HUGE victory.
The tax and legal implications are the real downside of this and is probably the true motive here. California is broke and what better way to get money than adding a whole new segment of the population to the marriage tax penalty. If any of us for one second actually believe the US govt.(Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians or Independents) has any group of peoples best intentions at heart then we are easy to fool.
In any event this ruling guarantees a new day for gay and lesbian rights. Like so many civil rights struggles before we are finally heading in the right direction.
The Supreme Court went against the will of the people in Loving v Virginia, by allowing interracial marriage. A majority of Americans supported banning interracial marriage at the time and now that support is virtually nil.
That being said, the Supreme Court is very much far right centric now, so I don't hold out much hope of a decision in our favor.
cumeaternc last edited by
…I don't hold out much hope of a decision in our favor.
It's a shame too. One of the greatest countries on earth still has to filter people through a sifter of ignorance. We have gay, straight, black, white, latino, republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, progressive, muslim and many more. Ironically when the sh*t hits the fan magically we all suddenly become "Americans".(think 9/11).
When will we learn that we are all in this together? Does this "grouping" happen to such an extreme degree in other countries? Just throwing it out there to non-Americans.
Prop. 8 Ruling Puts Obama, Kagan in Spotlight
Senior Washington Correspondent
Andrea is a former USA Today correspondent who has covered Washington, politics and news across the nation and the world. She has reported from 47 states, 28 countries, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon.
WASHINGTON (Aug. 5) – A federal judge's decision overturning California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage may take years to get to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the political fallout has already begun.
Judge Vaughn Walker's 136-page ruling eviscerating Proposition 8 as unconstitutional brought roaring back to life a divisive social issue that a few years ago dominated political discourse but had recently taken a back to seat to economic anxiety. And its timing, on the eve of Elena Kagan's Senate confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, is a reminder that the issue won't be settled until nine justices have their say.
"Judge Walker has launched the first salvo in a national culture war," said Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. "There will be electoral consequences for candidates who do not stand up and support marriage. Either they stand on the side of activist judges or they allow voters to have their say. There is no middle ground."
Joe Hege, right, of San Francisco holds up a sign during a rally in San Francisco's Castro district celebrating a federal judge's decision overturning California's same-sex marriage ban on Wednesday.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called the ruling "a cultural wedge issue that has the potential to galvanize Republicans, conservatives and Blue Dog Democrats around the defense of biblical marriage."
"It's a judicial coup d'etat … that has taken over the body politic of this nation," he said.
The decision set off infighting among conservatives. Mathew Staver of the Liberty Counsel criticized lawyers for bungling the case. "I am distressed that Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) presented thin evidence to support Prop. 8," he said. Still, he was confident the decision would be reversed on appeal.
Jordan Lorence, a lawyer working with the ADF, told AOL News that Walker made clear early in the trial that he "was inclined to strike down Prop. 8" and accused the judge of ignoring written evidence and testimony during cross-examination. Asked why his side called only two witnesses, one of whose testimony the judge said "provided no credible evidence," Lorence replied, "If we had called 30 witnesses we would have had the same result." Walker "created new heights of judicial activism" in his ruling, he said.
Gay rights activists, of course, disagreed. On the day after, they claimed new momentum and pointed to polls that, while showing a majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage, also indicate a growing acceptance of gay relations -- especially among young people. Many downplayed the political fallout from the decision even as they heralded it as a historic victory.
"This isn't 2004," said Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz, referring to the year Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage and a voter backlash outlawed it in 11 states. "People have moved on because they have seen thousands of examples of loving, committed same-sex couples that are no different than they are. Cultural warriors seem very dinosaurlike to people these days."
Political analysts said voters had other things on their minds.
"When unemployment is at 9.5 percent and the economy is in horrible shape, you have a war with escalating casualties and a very controversial agenda on a variety of economic issues like health care and cap and trade, no social or cultural issues will have much impact," said Charlie Cook, editor of The Cook Political Report. "This is a mega-issue election, not a wedge-issue election."
John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California and a former GOP congressional aide, said gay marriage will provide Republicans with just one more piece of evidence, along with the recent ruling on Arizona's immigration law, that "show the danger of activist judges and the need to uphold federalism." Still, he predicted most voters will stay focused on pocketbook issues.
Shades of Gray at the White House
The ruling once again put President Barack Obama on the spot.
The White House put out a statement saying, "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."
White House senior adviser David Axelrod told MSNBC that Obama "does oppose same-sex marriage but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples." The president favors civil unions for same-sex couples instead but also believes marriage is a state issue.
That neither here-nor-there position has irked gay rights activists. Sainz said gays are "disappointed that their president does not stand with them" on marriage. Still, Obama has done more for gays and lesbians than any predecessor, signing into law civil rights protections, extending benefits to gay federal workers and starting the clock ticking toward the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Evan Wolfson of the group Freedom to Marry said Obama "has rightly opposed measures aimed at excluding gay couples from marriage, but has failed to make the case effectively to the American people because he has not yet spoken authentically in support of the freedom to marry. He has the 'what,' equality, right, but has not embraced the 'how,' the freedom to marry, thereby convincing and satisfying no one."
Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said Obama is roughly in the same place on gay marriage as he is on immigration. "Major chunks of the Democratic constituency want more movement faster, but the broad middle of the American public, independents in electoral terms, want stability rather than more change," he said. "Obama is caught between revving up the base and trying to win back independents" he will need for re-election in 2012.
The president's best option, said Pitney, is to stick to his personal opposition to same-sex marriage but "shift the focus to respect for the courts, the Constitution and the rule of law" when asked his view on the California decision.
Eyes on the Court
Walker's decision was the second in less than a month in which a federal judge ruled in favor of gay marriage. It came after a narrower ruling in Massachusetts in which a judge ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act violates the constitutional rights of gay married couples there to equal protection under the law.
Both cases are likely to reach the Supreme Court, which will include Kagan, who was confirmed by the Senate today in a 63-to-37 vote.
Curt Levey of the conservative Committee for Justice said this latest ruling focuses attention on Kagan's "troubling record of gay rights activism and, more generally, on what's at stake if Kagan brings her 'living Constitution' philosophy to the Supreme Court." He warned, "A senator voting for Kagan should be willing to acknowledge that their vote is essentially a vote for same-sex marriage."
Kagan's replacement of liberal Justice John Paul Stevens won't change the partisan makeup of the court. It remains the most conservative in decades. But those nervous over how swing Justice Anthony Kennedy would vote on the matter are reviving talk about amending the U.S. Constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples.
Gay marriage is illegal by statute or constitutional amendment in 41 states following a spate of state ballot measures to head off Massachusetts-style matrimony. The state-level actions removed the urgency for Congress to act and gave fence-sitters like Sen. John McCain a handy excuse to stay out of the fray. In 2006, after a long and contentious debate, the Senate fell short of the votes needed for a federal marriage amendment.
"I suspect conservatives might want to reintroduce a narrow federal marriage amendment, which would keep courts from reading the federal Constitution as requiring recognition of same-sex marriage. Such an amendment might actually pass," said UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, founder of The Volokh Conspiracy blog. "Even if it doesn't, it could help persuade voters that conservatives' constitutional views are more in line with the voters' constitutional views."
As for the gay rights movement, still glowing over its big win in court, Sainz said it "isn't putting all of its eggs in the judicial basket."
Activists are working to add New York and Minnesota to the five states and the District of Columbia where gay marriage is legal. They also hope to put the issue back on the ballot in California and Maine as well as Oregon and Washington state in 2012.
Said Sainz: "We are pursuing marriage equality in a whole host of ways: judicially, legislatively, electorally and, lastly, by changing the hearts and minds of the American public."
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Marriage Equality in California On Hold For Now
posted Tue-17-Aug-2010 at hxxp://www.hrcbackstory.org/2010/08/marriage-equality-in-california-on-hold-for-now/?utm_source=Convio&utm_medium=email&utm_term=News-link-1&utm_campaign=HRCnews-August-2010
In a disappointing move last night, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals put the historic decision overturning Prop 8 on hold. So for now, marriage equality remains unavailable for same-sex couples in the Golden State. You may recall last week Judge Walker had set tomorrow as the day when his stay would expire, opening the possibility that same-sex couples might be able to marry. However supporters of Prop 8 appealed his stay decision to the 9th Circuit which issued their decision last evening.
Two interesting things did however come out of the order by the 9th Circuit last night. First is that the hearing schedule has been extremely expedited. A series of deadlines for written briefs must be completed by November 1, 2010 and then the court has scheduled oral argument for the week of December 6, 2010.
The second issue is that the appeals court specifically asked prop 8 supporters to address the issue of “standing” in their legal briefs. That’s the issue of whether or not the people who argued to maintain marriage discrimination are legally allowed to appeal Judge Walker’s decision. Read more about that in Brian Moulton’s helpful Prop 8 FAQ (hxxp://www.hrcbackstory.org/2010/08/the-prop-8-case-what%E2%80%99s-next-faq/) we posted last week.
While every day without marriage equality is an injustice to same-sex couples, the expedited timeline will hopefully help to bring about a quicker end to the discriminatory marriage ban.
how does the law proposal system work in the US because in the UK a court doesnt take part in it unless its deciding on a point of law - an issue raised from a case that has gone before them
The UK and US court systems are very much alike in many aspects. You must have standing in the case. In other words, you can't bring a suit unless it directly affects you, someone you have guardianship over or have power of attorney over.
There are some major differences, like in the UK you can be forbidden from appealing by the trial judge, there is no rule against double jeopardy, there is no 5th Amendment or anything like it in the UK.
so the government proposed this law and some gays decided to file a suit against it, won and then the other side appealed it saying it was wrong?
I don't know if this true of all 50 states, as they all have different rules, but Prop 8 started as a petition. Once it got enough signatures, it was placed on the ballot. The people of California then voted on it and 52% voted in favor of hate.