Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Wednesday that the controversial rule was unconstitutional and struck it down… Proposition 8 “fails to advance any rational basis for singling out gay men and women,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “[This law] does nothing more than enshrine — that opposite sex couples are superior,” he wrote to justify his decision to rule it unconstitutional.
For those of you who don’t follow US politics, Proposition 8 was a referendum on gay marriage passed in California in 2008. It challenged a previous ruling that made same sex marriage legal. It was an ugly, hate-filled fight that was fueled by money from Christian religious groups hell-bent on sticking their noses into gay people’s pants. Luckily, as Judge Walker noted in his ruling, the ban on gay marriage violates the 14th Amendment:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The emphasis in the above article is mine. It is known colloquially as the “equal protections clause”, and ensures that all citizens have access to privileges and rights provided by the state. Marriage being one of those rights, the judge ruled that it would violate the constitution to allow Proposition 8 to stand. While some violation of the constitution is occasionally warranted (i.e., incitements to violence are not protected by free speech laws), the defense failed to establish that there would be any amount of harm done to anyone that would warrant the violation of their rights under the amendment.
Of course the case seems destined to go to the Supreme Court, but because the State Supreme Court ruling is solidly based in the constitution, it will be difficult for the defense to win such an appeal.
Sometimes, the system works.
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