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Thread: Federal Judge strikes down gay marriage ban in California

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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Default Federal Judge strikes down gay marriage ban in California

    Just got a news alert. Looking for details. Does this means it is legal again?

    I can't find anything other than the Breaking News banner on Yahoo news yet. I know the ruling was expected today. Please let it make gay marriage be legalized and set precedence for other states to follow!!

    ETA - Yahoo!!!!!!!! I know the Prop 8 bastards will appeal but it is one step closer to the way it should be!!!

    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-...nclick_check=1

    Federal judge strikes down California's ban on same-sex marriage
    By Howard Mintz


    hmintz@mercurynews.com

    Posted: 08/04/2010 01:51:23 PM PDT
    Updated: 08/04/2010 01:53:51 PM PDT



    A San Francisco federal judge today struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage, concluding that it tramples on the equal rights of gay and lesbian couples and setting the stage for an appeal that appears destined for the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In a 136-page ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker sided with two same-sex couples that challenged voter-approved Proposition 8, which embedded a ban on gay marriage in the California constitution and wiped out a prior California Supreme Court ruling that briefly legalized same-sex nuptials across the state. Walker ordered that Proposition 8 should be immediately voided, and same-sex couples be given the chance marry across California.

    Prop. 8 defenders have already vowed to ask an appeals court to immediately stay Walker's order.

    With demonstrations and vigils at the ready in San Francisco and elsewhere, the judge based his decision on an unprecedented trial held in January, a crucial turn in the first federal court test in the nation of a state law forbidding same-sex marriage. Walker's decision is expected to be appealed swiftly to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and defenders of Prop. 8 moved even before the ruling to seek a stay that would preserve the status quo to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying while the legal battle continues to unfold.

    Most legal experts have not expected the courts to allow same-sex couples to begin marching down the aisle

    immediately, but Walker said there would be irreparable harm to the couples to allow Prop. 8 to remain in force. The ruling did not apply to about 18,000 same-sex couples married prior to the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008; their marriage licenses were left intact by the California Supreme Court. Prop. 8 backers said in court papers that a stay of Walker's ruling is "essential to averting the harms that would flow from another purported window of same-sex marriage in California."

    In the trial held in January, a high-powered legal team, including former Republican U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, put on weeks of evidence they argued proved that Prop. 8 violated the rights of same-sex couples. They presented experts to testify on a host of issues, from the history of discrimination against gays and lesbians to the scope of gay and lesbian political clout.

    These witnesses testified to the harm to gays and lesbians caused by being denied the right to marry. Among other things, the plaintiffs sought to debunk the argument that California's strong domestic partnership laws provide equal status to same-sex couples, who say they've been relegated to second-class citizenship by Prop. 8. Plaintiffs lawyers and the city of San Francisco maintain the distinction violates federal equal protection rights.

    The two couples, including Berkeley's Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier, testified of their own traumas from being denied the right to marry, and Republican San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders testified on his political change of heart after learning his daughter is lesbian.

    Defenders of Prop. 8 put just two witnesses on the stand, saying the plaintiffs had failed to prove that voters intended to discriminate when they backed the law at the ballot box and that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. Prop. 8 defenders tried to introduce evidence to show that gay marriage would undermine the institution of marriage, and that it conflicts with marriage's central purpose of procreation.

    Indeed, Prop. 8 lead attorney Charles Cooper told the judge in closing arguments in June that marriage between heterosexual couples is "fundamental to the survival of the human race."

    But during those arguments, Walker questioned the lack of evidence, making it clear that the Prop. 8 defense team did little to prove that the law can be justified.

    California voters backed Prop. 8 by a 52 to 48 percent margin in the November 2008 election, amending the state constitution to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman. The ballot measure was triggered by a ruling earlier that year from the state Supreme Court, which found that California's previous laws forbidding same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. The state Supreme Court subsequently upheld Prop. 8, concluding that it trumped the earlier ruling because it had changed the California constitution.

    However, the justices refused to invalidate existing same-sex marriages, saying the right to marry could not be stripped away retroactively.

    The American Foundation for Equal Rights, a group headed by Los Angeles activist Chad Griffin, then sued in federal court to overturn Prop. 8, enlisting conservative superstar Olson, as well as prominent trial lawyer David Boies to take the case. At the time, the lawsuit was greeted by skepticism from gay rights organizations, which have steered clear of the federal courts because of concerns the conservative U.S. Supreme Court is not ready to legalize same-sex marriage. Those groups have kept their legal fights in the nation's state courts.

    Walker has said from the start he expects his ruling to simply lay the groundwork for the appellate process. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit, which shapes law for California and eight other western states, will now hear the case, a process likely to stretch well into next year.
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    great news!
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Maybe I am too optimistic, but I think if it was put to the vote again the numbers would be reversed.
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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    very happy about this, i was really really not thinking it would happen, but its plain to see in black and white that it is unconstitutional and im glad a federal judge judged the same way.

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    Best news in weeks!!!

    I knew this was an amazing judge when he asked the Prop 8 folks to come up with evidence that gay marriage hurt or injured straight marriages. They couldn't, of course.
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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Those poor Mormons. Working hard and then having it all be for naught....

    ....time to celebrate!

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    Awesome.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    That means it goes to the supreme court. Whether they rule in favor is another issue.

    If they do, it has far reaching implications across the US.

    Lastly, civil rights should never be put to a public vote. I dunno how that got started, but it's fucking stupid.
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    Elite Member gas_chick's Avatar
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    Terrific news! Now we have to wait for the Supreme Court.
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    About time.

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    Elite Member yoyoma's Avatar
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    Apparently the Governator announced it earlier on....

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    That means it goes to the supreme court. Whether they rule in favor is another issue.

    If they do, it has far reaching implications across the US.

    Lastly, civil rights should never be put to a public vote. I dunno how that got started, but it's fucking stupid.
    Some people are saying that the actual ruling was very well done, and done in a way that will make it just a bit harder than usual for the SCOTUS (I love this acronym because it makes me think of scrotum) to get past the arguments and findings in it.

    *and of course you have the 'well what did you expect a fag judge to do in San Fagcisco?-of course they would rule that way' comments cropping up... Fucking morons.

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    I am worried about how SCOTUS will rule. Aren't they full of conservative judges?

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Yay! Let's hear it for common sense and brains. (So rare these days.)
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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Authority View Post
    I am worried about how SCOTUS will rule. Aren't they full of conservative judges?
    Well it has to go to the next level(another year) and then to the SCOTUS(another year), but I was reading somewhere where they were discussing the dynamics of the court and how it may not be quite so bad, especially since the ruling was based on two different things(one equal treatment under the law/14th Amendment, and something else(I forget). They were saying that the actual ruling decision (136 or some pages) was very well constructed, probably anticipating that it would get to the SCOTUS.

    *of course if a few of the most conservative SCOTUS judges happen to get killed or die or something in the next few weeks/months, I will not be shedding any damn tears.

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