A federal judge overturned California's gay-marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to confront the question of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.The full decision is available on the court's website at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/files/09cv2292-ORDER.pdf (343kb) (and copies are all over the Web by now). Chief Judge Walker's conclusion is striking:
The ruling by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker touched off a celebration outside the courthouse. Gay couples waved rainbow and American flags and erupted with cheers in the city that has long been a magnet for gays.
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.Walker's not what anyone would call a flaming liberal. He was originally nominated by Ronald Reagan, and appointed by George H.W. Bush, rotating to the Chief Judgeship in 2004. Maybe that'll keep the cries of "judicial activism!" down for a change.