Overturning makes gay day for same-sex couples
Well, that didn’t take long.
Proposition 8 (aka the California Marriage Protection Act), a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 state general election, was overturned in a ruling on Aug. 4 by U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker.
Prop 8, which was hotly contested and debated, and decried by supporters of same-sex marriages, added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
After the Supreme Court upheld the voter initiative, a lawsuit, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, was filed in a Federal District Court in San Francisco. Walker’s ruling was reportedly based largely on what he decided was a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment clause regarding “equal protection under the law.”
He also said that no “credible evidence to support any of the claimed adverse effects of same sex marriage” was provided. Walker also cited compelling testimony indicating that “all available evidence shows that children raised by gay or lesbian parents are just as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents and that the gender of a parent is immaterial to whether an adult is a good parent.”
Specifically addressing procreation and the role of gender as major components of Prop 8’s intent, in his ruling, Walker wrote, “The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry.” He went on to call that concept “an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.”
According to Walker, “Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are [identical] to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law.”
While Prop 8 technically still stands as overturned, a temporary stay issued by Judge Walker to allow suspension of the ruling remains in effect, pending an appeal that was filed Thursday. The matter could end up going before the U.S. Supreme Court for a final decision.
Locally, while the majority of the state passed Prop 8 in 2008 52.5 percent to 47.5 percent, Mono County voters soundly rejected the measure 44.48 percent to 55.52 percent.