Judge Strikes Down California Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Links, Timelines & Song

By Christine Cupaiuolo — August 5, 2010

The news today was celebratory, but the battle over Proposition 8 is far from over. From The New York Times:

Saying that it discriminates against gay men and women, a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, handing supporters of such unions at least a temporary victory in a legal battle that seems all but certain to be settled by the Supreme Court.

Wednesday’s decision is just the latest chapter in what is expected to be a long battle over the ban — Proposition 8, which was passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote. Indeed, while striking down Proposition 8, the decision will not immediately lead to any new same-sex marriages being performed in California. Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, immediately stayed his own decision, pending appeals by proponents of Proposition 8, who seem confident that higher courts would be less accommodating than Judge Walker.

But on Wednesday the winds seemed to be at the back of those who feel that marriage is not, as the voters of California and many other states have said, solely the province of a man and a woman.

“Proposition 8 cannot withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause,” wrote Judge Walker. “Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.”

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* Judge Vaughn Walker’s 136-page ruling against Prop. 8. One of my favorite sections:

The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry.

Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.

* More on the judge’s “findings of fact” at ColorLines.

* Lots of links and good info at Pam’s House Blend (start with this open discussion).

* NYT editorial: “The decision […] is a stirring and eloquently reasoned denunciation of all forms of irrational discrimination, the latest link in a chain of pathbreaking decisions that permitted interracial marriages and decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults.

“As the case heads toward appeals at the circuit level and probably the Supreme Court, Judge Walker’s opinion will provide a firm legal foundation that will be difficult for appellate judges to assail.”

* San Francisco Chronicle’s archive of the November 2008 California ballot measure and the state Supreme Court challenge to Prop. 8.

Timeline of the 10-year battle over same-sex marriage in California.

* Finally, for your viewing pleasure, a look back at “Prop 8: The Musical” …

What are you reading on Prop 8?

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