A federal court today struck down California’s Proposition 8, which forbids same-sex marriage in the state. While gay rights advocates celebrate, the opposition is planning their appeal. The issue will likely go all the way to the Supreme Court.
In today’s decision, Prop 8 was roundly trounced by the judge. Citing civil rights issues, Judge Vaughn R. Walker. Calling Prop 8 “…nothing more than an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life,” Walker said it stood no chance of surviving scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.
Same-sex marriage supporters hope that a federal ruling on this law will change the legal conversation about it as well as media perceptions. Opponents plan to appeal, hoping that higher courts will be less sympathetic to the argument that same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue.
Walker certainly sees it that way. His decision clearly spells out a responsibility of the state to treat it’s citizens equally, as defined in the Equal Protection Clause.
The state cannot have an interest in disadvantaging an unpopular minority group simply because the group is unpopular…California’s obligation to treat its citizens equally, not to “mandate [its] own moral code.
The case was argued for the plaintiffs by a surprising legal team: David Boies and Theodore Olsen. The two faced off during the high-profile Bush v. Gore case that decided the 2000 presidential election, but teamed up to win this early round for gay rights advocates.
Both sides have filed letters asking that same-sex marriages be allowed to proceed or not (you can guess which was which) while the case continues to work its way up through the federal court system.