Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Constitution’

Los Angeles, California (CNN) — A federal court in California will rule Thursday on whether to keep a temporary stay in place in the case that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California will announce its decision between 9 a.m. and noon (12 p.m. and 3 p.m. ET).

If the stay is lifted, same-sex marriages will be legal in California.

Last week, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that voter-approved Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution.

The 136-page opinion is an initial step in what will likely be a lengthy fight over California’s Proposition 8, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

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At question in the trial was whether California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates gay couples’ rights to equal protection and due process, as protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The high-profile case is being watched closely by both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage, as many say it is destined to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If it does, the case could result in a landmark decision on whether people in the United States are allowed to marry people of the same sex.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in five U.S. states — Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa and New Hampshire — and in the District of Columbia, while civil unions are permitted in New Jersey.

“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,” Walker, who was appointed to the federal bench by former President Ronald Reagan, wrote in his opinion.

“Race restrictions on marital partners were once common in most states but are now seen as archaic, shameful or even bizarre,” he added. “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”

After the ruling, elated supporters gathered to celebrate the judge’s opinion in San Francisco’s Castro district.

People waved rainbow flags and U.S. flags, and carried signs that read, “We all deserve the freedom to marry,” and “Separate is Unequal.” Similar rallies unfolded in Los Angeles and San Diego.

“For our entire lives, our government and the law have treated us as unequal. This decision to ensure that our constitutional rights are as protected as everyone else’s makes us incredibly proud of our country,” said Kristin Perry, a plaintiff.

Perry and Sandy Stier, along with Jeffrey Zarrillo and Paul Katami, are the two couples at the heart of the case, which, if appealed, would go next to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before possibly heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opponents of same-sex marriage have said their best bet lies with higher courts and have vowed to appeal the federal judge’s ruling.

In a national survey conducted by Gallup in May, 53 percent of respondents said same-sex marriages should not be recognized by law, while 44 percent said they should.

Proposition 8 is part of a long line of seesaw rulings, court cases, debates and protests over the controversial issue of same-sex marriage. It passed in California with some 52 percent of the vote in November 2008.

“Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial,” Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said last week. “With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman.”

IllegalInAmerica Says:

Judge Walker, you better make the right decision!  These are civil rights that should be afforded to same-sex couples, and it is really the only way to go.  I’ll be back once the decision has been made with more thoughts.

IIA

Prop. 8 supporters plan appeal before ruling.

(08-03) 19:18 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — A federal court ruling on the right of same-sex couples to marry in California is scheduled to be released today – and opponents of gay and lesbian nuptials are already making plans to appeal.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco will decide whether Proposition 8, the November 2008 initiative that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, violated gays’ and lesbians’ right of equality under the U.S. Constitution.

After court officials on Tuesday announced plans to release the decision, Prop. 8‘s sponsors filed papers making it clear they expect to lose this round. They asked Walker, if he rules against them, to leave the ban on same-sex marriages in place while they appeal.

Lawyers for Prop. 8’s backers told the judge they are confident that any such ruling would be overturned on appeal. They said a stay would honor the will of the voters and would not harm same-sex couples, who can still register as domestic partners.

Walker presided over a nonjury trial in January, the first ever held in a federal court on the issue. The plaintiffs, two gay men from Burbank and two lesbians from Berkeley, testified that their hopes to be married were thwarted when voters overturned the May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

The plaintiffs’ witnesses also included researchers who said sexual orientation has no relationship to successful parenting and that marriage in the United States is an evolving institution.

The conservative religious coalition that sponsored Prop. 8 offered testimony that the male-female definition of marriage is universal and that children are better off with married, biological parents.

The city of San Francisco joined the lawsuit on the plaintiffs’ side. Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to defend Prop. 8 and said he considers it unconstitutional.

Walker’s ruling, due sometime between 1 and 3 p.m., is certain to be appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 or 2012.

A group that supports same-sex marriage has announced a march from the Castro district to City Hall, starting at 5 p.m., followed by a rally from 6:45 to 8 p.m.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/03/BAF11EODM9.DTL&tsp=1#ixzz0vfjP74ag

Illegal In America:

Wow, hopefully within the next few hours we will know what the Federal Judge Walker has decided.  I think it’s pretty dumb that the supporters of PROP 8 know that they will most likely get defeated, as they well should.  People who give a shit about this issue either want equal rights, or do not think that the fellow citizens living around them deserve the same rights that they do.

When this does get repealed today, this case is obviously going to continue its adventure into bigger, badder courts, but I really hope that Walker ends Prop 8, at least temporarily, now.  As you saw at the end of the article, anyone in San Francisco that wishes to walk can do so from the Castro to the San Francisco City Hall.

Let’s show them who they are dealing with and give this fight a voice!