August 4, 2010

Judge Walker has struck down California's Proposition 8, stating that it violates the due process and equal protection rights under the Constitution. He further ordered a permanent injunction on any effort to enforce Proposition 8:

Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result...; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8.

To my gay friends who I have fought alongside and cried with when it passed in November, 2008, congratulations and hugs all around. The war isn't over, but this battle was won and has a clear victor. Everyone.

The full ruling is here. I'm still reading, and will update this post as I read more.

Update #1: A stay has been filed in this case (ahead of the ruling, actually)., and KGO is reporting that it has been granted. I'm not finding any reports on that, but it's to be expected.

What happens next: Judge Walker will rule on the stay filed by proponents of Prop 8. Depending on that ruling, the 9th Circuit will get involved.

Update #2:

Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:

“This is a historic day for California, and for our country. Proposition 8 took away the freedom of committed couples to make what is one of the most important decisions in any person’s life—to make a lifelong promise of caring, responsibility, love, and protection for another individual. Now, like the thousands of other California couples who have been barred from marrying who they choose, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier can have security of knowing they can receive legal protections for their family, visit each other’s hospital rooms when they are ill, and provide for each other in old age. They now have the freedom to make that lifelong commitment to each other.

“This decision is an important step in the right direction, but there’s a lot of work left to do. We will continue to work toward making America a place where all couples can enjoy the freedom and security of marriage.”

Update #3 The judge has put a temporary stay on his order until Friday in order to give both sides opportunity to prepare for the inevitable longer stay/appeal. More details here.

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