Moments ago, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Proposition 8, passed by California voters in November 2008, which prohibited same-sex couples from marrying in the state. Walker found that the Prop 8 undermined both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, arguing that “[e]ach challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation”:Judge Walker, by the way, was appointed to the federal district court by President George H.W. Bush.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.
There’s more on his ruling from Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen.
READ MORE: “Proposition 8 Ruling: Don’t Pick the Caterer Just Yet,” by Linda Hirshman (Salon); “Proposition 8 Overturned: The Facts, Not the Law, Matter,” by Marc Ambinder (Atlantic Monthly).