Thursday, 5 August 2010

California Judge Reverses Prop 8 Decision Banning Gay Marriage

For a full transcript of the decision, see here.

But in the meantime, in order to see how clearly the judge repudiates the conservative arguments, see the following.....
...Tidbits (courtesy of Talking Points Memo):

A federal judge in California has ruled that Prop 8 -- the voter initiative that banned gay marriage -- is unconstitutional.

Supporters of Prop 8 (that is, opponents of gay marriage) have already promised to file an appeal.

From Judge Vaughn Walker's decision:

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.
Prop 8, approved in 2008, created an amendment to the state constitution that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

More from Walker's decision:

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. FF 78-80. 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 arguments surrounding Proposition 8 raise a question similar to
that addressed in Lawrence, when the Court asked whether a majority
of citizens could use the power of the state to enforce "profound
and deep convictions accepted as ethical and moral principles"
through the criminal code. ... The question here is whether
California voters can enforce those same principles through
regulation of marriage licenses. They cannot. California's
obligation is to treat its citizens equally, not to "mandate [its]
own moral code."
"Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians," he wrote.

In his findings of fact, Walker pointed out that California "has never required that individuals entering a marriage be willing or able to procreate."

He also notes that slaves were unable to marry.

"The states have always required the parties to give their free consent to a marriage. Because slaves were considered property of others at the time, they lacked the legal capacity to consent and were thus unable to marry. After emancipation, former slaves viewed their ability to marry as one of the most important new rights they had gained," he wrote.

Walker also noted that past marriage inequalities have included the prohibition of interracial marriage and coverture, in which a woman's identity is subsumed by her husband's.

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