Posted by | August 6, 2010 14:54 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

The recent ruling by Judge Vaughn Walker, while a major news story today, will probably amount to a mere trivia question fifty years from now.  Perry v. Schwarzenegger was always a case destined for the Supreme Court, and when those nine men and women finally rule on this matter, it has a chance to be the most significant civil rights case of our generation. Adding to the drama is the current makeup of the court, which is as polarized as it has ever been. This means that in this democracy of ours, one man will decide what is arguably the most controversial civil rights issue of our time: Justice Anthony Kennedy, thanks to Vaughn Walker.

A careful reading of Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision reveals his awareness of the fact that Kennedy will be the deciding vote on this issue. Walker tailored his written opinion to honor precedent already approved by Justice Kennedy, and made a concerted effort to make sure his ruling is not overturned on appeal. Walker’s opinion included seven citations from Romer v. Evans, a 1996 case which struck down an anti-gay Colorado ballot initiative that tried to prevent homosexuals from being regarded as a Protected class. His opinion also included eight citations from Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 landmark decision which banned anti-sodomy laws at the state level. In both of those critical cases involving gays, Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. It is clear what Walker is trying to do and he may have just set the stage for Anthony Kennedy to become a gay rights legend. For the sake of the gay community, and for all those who truly believe in equality for all in this great country, let’s hope it works.

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