Posted by | August 4, 2010 16:56 | Filed under: Contributors Good News Sandi Behrns Top Stories

by Sandi Behrns

While no one believes it is the final word on the subject, today’s ruling by U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker is sure to inspire full-throated responses on both sides. In ruling on the constitutionality of California’s “Prop 8,” Judge Walker declared the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage to violate equal protection and due process rights guaranteed under the US Constitution. From the ruling:

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.

In May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 that gays and lesbians were entitled to marry under the state Constitution. Voters passed Proposition 8 six months later, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The trial ran for 2 1/2 weeks in January and the ruling has been highly anticipated. Of course, it’s just the next step in the process, as it is certain to be appealed first to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and finally to the US Supreme Court.

In fact, supporters of Prop 8 asked Walker for a stay of his ruling prior to its release, saying that they would be appealing to the 9th Circuit if Walker’s ruling went against them. “A stay is essential to averting the harms that would flow from another purported window of same-sex marriage in California,” they wrote. This is in reference to the 18,000 same-sex couples that were wed during the period between the California Supreme Court ruling in May of 2008 and the passage of Prop 8.

Marches, rallies, protests and vigils have been planned and promised by groups on both sides. Look for the rhetoric and controversy to be ratcheted up considerably, especially with mid-term elections just around the corner.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Sandi Behrns

Sandi Behrns is a noted policy nerd, new media & web developer, and consultant to progressive organizations and campaigns. She is a senior contributor to Liberaland, and the Executive Editor of Progressive Congress News.