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California Proposition 8 Overturned!


Do you think there will be an appeal that will once again make gay marriage illegal?  

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  1. 1. Do you think there will be an appeal that will once again make gay marriage illegal?

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    • No
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In a major victory for gay rights activists, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a voter initiative banning same-sex marriage in California violated the Constitution's equal protection and due process rights clauses.

 

After a five-month wait, 9th Circuit District Court Judge Vaughn Walker offered a 136-page decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, firmly rejecting Proposition 8, which was passed by voters in November 2008.

 

"Although Proposition 8 fails to possess even a rational basis, the evidence presented at trial shows that gays and lesbians are the type of minority strict scrutiny was designed to protect," Walker ruled.

 

"Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs' objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy -- namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages."

 

"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 judgment was the first offered by a federal court with respect to laws banning gay marriage at the state level and it promises to have massive reverberations across the political and judicial landscape. The decision is now expected to head to the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court (also based in San Francisco) for appeal and from there to the Supreme Court.

 

In the interim, however, Walker's ruling gave gay-rights activists a second occasion to rejoice in less than a month. In July, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as one man and one woman, was also unconstitutional.

 

"It is not only a home run it is a grand slam," said Jon Davidson the legal director at Lambda Legal, the country's largest and oldest LBGT legal organization. "This decisions is not going to be the end of this fight, the proponents have already said they will appeal. But I think the factual findings that the judge has made and his clear and detailed analysis will be important to frame the case as it goes up on appeal."

 

"This is part of an educational process that is going on in this country. When judges look outside of the political process and they go through the evidence and treat arguments as more than just sound bites they come to the conclusion that withholding marriage from same sex couples hurts them and their families and doesn't help anyone. That helps move the conversation."

 

Wednesday's decision came after lengthy, substantive, and at times provocative legal deliberations in which an odd-couple pairing of lawyers took on the cause of overturning the same-sex marriage ban. Theodore Olson and David Boies -- direct adversaries in the 2000 Supreme Court presidential recount battle -- made the case that Prop 8 violated both the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution. The law, the two argued, was discriminatory on the basis of both sexual orientation and on the basis of sex in addition to violating the principle that marriage was a personal liberty.

 

"The Supreme Court has said that marriage is the most important relation in life. Now that's being withheld from the plaintiffs," Olson said in his closing argument. "Marriage, the Supreme Court has said again and again, is a component of liberty, privacy, spirituality and autonomy."

 

Representing the defense, another Washington-based lawyer, Charles Cooper leaned heavily on the social impact of codifying gay marriage, arguing that "marriage is to channel the sexual behavior between men and women into a procreative union."

 

In deciding the case, Walker offered a variety of findings that may be as important as the ruling itself. Among them were the following:

 

"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' assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the 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."

"Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions. Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples have happy, satisfying relationships and form deep emotional bonds and strong commitments to their partners. Standardized measures of relationship satisfaction, relationship adjustment and love do not differ depending on whether a couple is same-sex or opposite-sex."

"Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."

"Same-sex couples receive the same tangible and intangible benefits from marriage that opposite-sex couples receive."

"The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."

"Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."

Perhaps the most important political finding that Walker made was his conclusion that the fact that Prop 8 passed as a voter initiative was irrelevant as "fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."

 

It does not appear that Walker allowed for an immediate hold on his decision, which means that the defense must seek one from a higher court. Until then, gay couples could be legally allowed to marry in the state of California.

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Speaking from a purely legal stand point I agree that this likely is unconstitutional. My feeling is that there is a violation of the 14th amendment on the basis of equal protection and due process based on the courts ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. Basically I base my opinion on the idea that the state did not have a rational basis for passing such law (which is the test to apply). Here the state had the burden of proof and simply failed to meet it. Now as to the question of whether or not this will lead to an appeal? I'm almost sure that it will, however I don't foresee this going all the way to the Supreme Court. Here's the thing, before a major issue like this goes to the court you need to make sure that you have a case that is ripe (and I don't mean ripe in a legal meaning here as much as I do as a matter of strategic timing) to be heard by the court. Right now I don't think there is a favorable court in place to take this further. I see this as mirroring in certain aspects the Brown v. Board case where they actually waited for years before they found the right case at the right time to take to the Supreme Court. I just don't think the time is right at the moment. If nothing else this should be interesting to watch for the next few years.

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Very touchy topic I must say as well...The only thing I'll give input is how protesters are using Church as a tool for their reasoning. Back when the first episode of this was going about, my brother passed by some "Yes on 8" people as he shouted "No on 8." He then quickly had them preaching to him about being gay is a sin. He isn't of that preference but he believes people should be able to make their own choices and not have people tell them that they can't live that way. I feel the same honestly. Not everyone follows the same religion, and it seems that religion is getting shoved down peoples throats. Simple thing, leave religion out of it. This leaves the real question, why is it illegal anyway? And whatever happened with separation of church and state (if this is the reasoning why not everyone is having these equal rights)?

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^Excuse Me? What is that supposed to mean?

 

I feel that Proposition 8 is a skid mark on America and it's ideals. I feel as though the Proposition was never to protect the "sanctity of marriage" and more of an attack from bigots who have little care for marriage and more just to hate. This has nothing to do with religion because if it did, we'd also see corporate shake downs of Red Lobster and Long John Silver's for serving shellfish and Nike and Lands' End for selling products of two different materials. As response to California Proposition 8 being overturned, to all of it's supporters, get wrecked.

 

EDIT: By supporters, I mean the people who support the restriction of marriages to be defined as a relationship between a man and a woman.

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EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

 

EVERYONE HAS TO BE NICE TO EACH OTHER IN THIS THREAD OR WE WILL LOCK IT.

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I personally have one theory on it. I'm not gay so I shouldn't say if it's right or wrong. If a person is gay that's them no need to say oh that's immoral! This is good for gays and I feel I don't have a right to say it's wrong. I mean that's just coming from a 15 year old kid but take my opinion for what you want.

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^ Those are my feelings too because I can't comprehend telling someone else they can't marry when I am not gay or in love for that matter.

 

As for politics I don't believe that politics have a say in matters of the heart, but I know it's because of the benefits that marriage brings to workers. Like everyone else has said it's a touchy subject, but I can't see the harm if the love is real.

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So reading a little bit more about it the case was in fact turned over based on Equal Protection and Due Process grounds. So for any of you curious about the next step that'll be an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who will confirm (while I can't be sure, I'd be willing to make a pretty decent wager on this fact) the decision of the lower court. After that then there might be that final appeal up to the US Supreme Court. Here is the deal with that however, the appeal to the Supreme Court is only going to happen if the lawyers believe that the time is right. By that I mean is this the right case, is this the right time, and are the right judges on the bench. Also there is the question of whether or not the Justices are going to want to deal with this case, and if they do whether or not they are going to address it on the merits or find some reason why they can't decide on it. Remember that each and every year between 8,000-10,000 cases come to the Court, and out of those between 80-100 will actually get heard by the Court.

 

As I said before, from a legal standpoint I believe that this was a correct ruling. It really should be an interesting journey through constitutional law over the next few years as this continues through the system.

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Doesn't California have more important things to discuss... like, the whole economy thing?

 

Sure, but not everyone has to be wrapped up in one singular issue.

 

Yeah. While politicians are busy not doing their jobs and sinking CA further into debt, they need MORE than 1 issue, how else would they distract everyone from how crappy a job they are doing.

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Some people online are already talking about appealing right now...I wouldn't be surprised if they tried.

 

This is still a major turning point in judicial history. I'm ecstatic that this has been repealed. It's a victory for equality.

 

I can promise you that there is going to be an appeal. In fact I would guess that they started thinking about the appeal before the decision even came down. We should hear something in the next 30-90 days regarding a notice of appeal.

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