The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that a federal judge in San Francisco today struck down California's ban on same-sex marriage, saying it violates the U.S. Constitution.
The news comes seven months after the trial was held in January and nearly two years after the controversial measure, known as Proposition 8, was backed by voters in November 2008.
From the Mercury News' report:
In a 136-page ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker sided with two same-sex couples who challenged voter-approved Proposition 8, which embedded a ban on gay marriage in the California constitution and wiped out a prior California Supreme Court ruling that briefly legalized same-sex nuptials across the state. Walker ordered that Proposition 8 should be immediately voided, and same-sex couples be given the chance marry across California.
"Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians," the judge wrote. "The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite sex couples.
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Prop. 8 defenders have already vowed to ask an appeals court to immediately stay Walker's order.
With demonstrations and vigils at the ready in San Francisco and elsewhere, the judge based his decision on an unprecedented trial held in January, a crucial turn in the first federal court test in the nation of a state law forbidding same-sex marriage. Walker's decision is expected to be appealed swiftly to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and defenders of Prop. 8 moved even before the ruling to seek a stay that would preserve the status quo to prevent gay and lesbian couples from marrying while the legal battle continues to unfold.
More reporting on same-sex marriage on the NCR website:
- Polls find shifts on gay marriage ban, August 4
- Gay debate mirrors church split on slavery, August 4