August 4th, 2010
The word has just come in on Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Judge Walker Vaughn has found that Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in California, is in violation of the US Constitution.
I’ll provide more information once I review the ruling, but meanwhile, go to Rex Wockner’s site to find where to celebrate. There are rallies planned throughout California and in several other states.
Ted Olson and David Boies will be holding a livestream press conference here.
It appears (to me) that there will be no hold placed on the ruling by Judge Vaughn.
UPDATE TWO: Items of interest:
From the judge’s summary of their deposition, the supporters of Prop 8 didn’t call their witnesses because their testimony would only bolster our side.
The court now determines that Blankenhorn’s testimony constitutes inadmissible opinion testimony that should be given essentially no weight.
Blankenhorn offered opinions on the definition of marriage, the ideal family structure and potential consequences of state recognition of marriage for same-sex couples. None of Blankenhorn’s opinions is reliable.
Findings of Fact:
Marriage between a man and a woman was traditionally organized based on presumptions of a division of labor along gender lines. Men were seen as suited for certain types of work and women for others. Women were seen as suited to raise children and men were seen as suited to provide for the family.
California has eliminated marital obligations based on the gender of the spouse. Regardless of their sex or gender, marital partners share the same obligations to one another and to their dependants. As a result of Proposition 8, California nevertheless requires that a marriage consist of one man and one woman.
Eliminating gender and race restrictions in marriage has not deprived the institution of marriage of its vitality.
Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual. Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person’s identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group. Proponents’ assertions that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of evidence.
Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation.
and he gets it:
Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society.
The finding that conservative Christians will latch onto in demonizing Vaughn:
Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.
and the core of the case:
The Proposition 8 campaign relied on fears that children exposed to the concept of same-sex marriages may become gay or lesbian. The reason children need to be protected from same-sex marriage was never articulated in official campaign advertisements. Nevertheless, the advertisements insinuated that learning about same-sex marriage could make a child gay or lesbian and that parents should dread having a gay or lesbian child.
Remember “I heard that a prince could marry a prince and I can marry a princess”?
UPDATE THREE: The conclusions, and they are BIG
Because plaintiffs seek to exercise their fundamental right to marry, their claim is subject to strict scrutiny.
But Proposition lacks even a legitimate – much less compelling – reason and cannot even withstand rational basis review. In other words, orientation deserves the same level of protection as race, but Proposition 8 would not hold up under any level of inspection.
Thus Proposition 8 fails under the Due Process constitutional provisions.
Proposition 8 cannot withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause, as excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legislative state interest.
Thus Proposition 8 also fails under the Equal Protection constitutional provisions.
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of 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 obligations to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Judge Vaughn has stayed his decision until August 6 at which time he will consider arguments to determine whether he should put a stay on the case until it reaches appeal before the 9th Circuit appeals court.
You can read the full decision here.
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