California judge strikes down Prop. 8 citing 'fundamental right to marry'
U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker
U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker

.- A California federal judge issued a ruling this afternoon striking down Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between man and one woman. The judge ruled that the measure violated the rights of same-sex couples.

In a landmark case that is expected to reach the Supreme Court, U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled on Aug. 4 that Prop. 8 – an initiative which passed in Nov. of 2008 with the support of 7 million Californians – both “unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.”

Judge Walker concluded that Prop. 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,” he added. “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.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and Equality California, joined by the first lesbian couple to contract a legal same-sex “marriage” in California, filed a lawsuit immediately after the election to try and overturn the measure.

Today's ruling is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the Supreme Court by the pro-traditional marriage group, ProtectMarriage.com.

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which is involved in litigating the case, responded to the ruling on Wednesday afternoon.

“We will certainly appeal this disappointing decision. Its impact could be devastating to marriage and the democratic process,” ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum said. “It’s not radical for more than 7 million Californians to protect marriage as they’ve always known it.”

“What would be radical would be to allow a handful of activists to gut the core of the American democratic system and, in addition, force the entire country to accept a system that intentionally denies children the mom and the dad they deserve,” he added.

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