In a federal district court in San Francisco, US District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled today in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case.
The plaintiffs and their attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies argued that California's passed Proposition 8 ballot initiative denying marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional.
After months of testimony, Judge Walker's ruling struck down Proposition 8.
This is the conclusion to his 138 page opinion:
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 the full remedies ruled:
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.
Stay tuned. Perry v. Schwarzenegger is definitely headed to the 9th Circuit Court of appeals and probably to the Supremes.
I also find it deliciously ironic that Judge Walker is a Reagan-Daddy Bush judicial appointee, so take that 'strict constitutionalists.'
But this is only a civil rights battle won. The civil rights war over this issue is not even close to being finished.