Proud to be an American again today. A federal judge has ruled that the state's ban on same-sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment's rights to equal protection and due process of law. The decision was apparently very impressively put together; and is very likely to be appealed up to, and decided in, the Supreme Court.
Here are a couple of brief, punchy quotes from the ruling.
Moral disapproval alone, is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and women.
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.
Here are a couple of good articles for further reading.
Judge Walker's decision to overturn Prop 8 is factual, well-reasoned, and powerful
Among his most notable determinations of fact, Walker finds: states have long discriminated in matters of who can marry; marital status affects immigration, citizenship, tax policy, property and inheritance rules, and benefits programs; that individuals do not choose their own sexual orientation; California law encourages gay couples to become parents; domestic partnership is a second-class legal status; permitting same-sex couples to marry does not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, or otherwise screw around. He found that it benefits the children of gay parents to have them be married and that the gender of a child's parent is not a factor in a child's adjustment.
The decision, though an instant landmark in American legal history, is more than that. It also is a stirring and eloquently reasoned denunciation of all forms of irrational discrimination.
California's Proposition 8, which passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, discriminated against [gays] by prohibiting same-sex marriage and relegating them to domestic partnerships. The judge easily dismissed the idea that discrimination is permissible if a majority of voters approve it; the referendum's outcome was "irrelevant," he said, quoting a 1943 case, because "fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote."
What this comes down to is whether gay people are inferior to straight people, and whether their citizenship is thereby to be deemed inferior as well. The entire weight of the American tradition stands athwart the imposition of a second-class group of people and declares: No!
And a concluding quotation: