Federal Judge Lifts Stay on Proposition 8 Allowing same Sex Couples to Marry in California

Although a federal judge has overturned the ban on same sex marriage it doesn’t mean that things are ok just yet. San Francisco Federal Judge Vaughn Walker extended a temporary stay until August 18, in order to give Proposition 8 supporters and the defendants time to file an appeal with the ninth circuit court. So for the mean time gay marriage can’t resume in the golden state.Both Gov.Schwarzenegger and the state atty. had urged Judge Walker to permit same sex marriages to continue saying that the state was “well equipped” to handle them.  Judge Walker had made the ruling after a lawsuit was filed by two gay couples who claimed that their civil rights had been violated by the voter approved ban. The judge ruled that Prop 8 was “unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.” Two key sentences are : 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.

The Gov. applauded the ruling stating that “it affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves.” Judge Walker  in deciding the case offered a variety of findings: “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.””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.”

Perhaps the most important finding that Walker made was his conclusion of the fact that Prop 8, which 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.”Now as this case goes to the 9th circuit court of appeals one can only hope that cooler heads will prevail and the rights of same sex couples to marry and expect the same protection of heterosexual couples will soon be a given.