Judge strikes down Prop 8, saying there’s no rational reason for gay marriage ban
US District Judge Vaughn R. Walker has ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 California ballot measure spawned by right wing religious nuts, violates the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
In a 138- page ruling issued yesterday Walker found that there was absolutely no rational basis for California to exclude same-sex couples from the same right to marry that is provided for heterosexual couples. Prop 8, therefore, violates the plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marry as well as their right to equal protection of the laws.
At the conclusion of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger hearing, the judge issued a directive to the clerk to enter judgment against the defendants Â in the form of a permanent injunction against the enforcement of Proposition 8. The ruling was immediately stayed for two days until the motion seeking a stay pending appeal is considered. Unless the defendants secure that second stay from Walker or the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, same-sex marriages can resume in California.
The case was filed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights on behalf of two same-sex couples eager to marry but denied that right as a result of Prop 8’s passage.
The nub of Walker’s ruling can be found in his one-paragraph 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.
In the absence of a rational basis, what remains of proponents’ case is an inference, amply supported by evidence in the record, that Proposition 8 was premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples. Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.
The judge continued:
Moral disapproval is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples. Because Proposition 8 disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification, Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
There are further damning quotes from the judge – ironically a Republican appointed by former President George H W Bush – in this report:
Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment. Proposition 8 perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents.
Protect Marriage, the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored the ban, said it would appeal Walker’s ruling to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
Said Jim Campbell, a lawyer on the defence team.
In America, we should uphold and respect the right of people to make policy changes through the democratic process, especially changes that do nothing more than uphold the definition of marriage that has existed since the founding of this country and beyond.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn