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Judge refuses to dismiss challenge to Prop. 8

A federal judge refused today to dismiss a constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, ruling the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage raised legal and factual issues that required a trial.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, ruling after nearly two hours of arguments in San Francisco, rejected contentions by Proposition 8's proponents that precedent and tradition clearly showed last November's ballot measure permissible under the U.S. Constitution.

Walker previously ordered the Proposition 8 campaign to disclose its internal memorandums and communications to gay rights lawyers. The campaign is appealing that order to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on 1st Amendment grounds.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Related: Use The Times' interactive map to see the evolution of rights for same-sex couples in the U.S. since 2000.

Click on map to view The Times' interactive timeline

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Comments () | Archives (29)

Yay!, Prop 8 is going down and fast.

Hi, I am a devoted Christian who once strongly opposed same-sex marriage, but later changed my view a week prior to the election. I voted No on 8 and these are my reasons why:

I realized that it wasn't really "fair" for me to impose my religious views on others. How would I like it if America became primarily Muslim and they voted along Muslim lines, changing our laws to fit their religion? It wouldn't be fair to me as a Christian. We need to have a separation of Church and State.

I am Republican, as most Christians are in California. I want taxes to be lowered so we can keep all our hard-earned money. Gays and Lesbians are taxed higher because they cannot file together and in case of death, they would have to pay hefty taxes on wills and other estate transfers. This is not fair - keep the Government out of our wallets! Plus they are denied other rights like Hospital Visits, etc. As a Republican, I want every citizen to be free and equal to the rest with the same rights. Plus, our government should not "define" marriage. We want the government out of lives and as small as possible.

Finally, the Yes on 8 group had a very deceiving campaign. It had nothing to do with school or families, or limiting religious freedom - they were all lies. It was simply about equal rights and their dirty campaign made me sick.

I urge all people of faith to really think about same-sex marriage. It really doesn't effect any of us, but it does grant equal rights and protection under the law to all loving adults, no matter what their sexual orientation is.

Irvine, CA

Legal issues? Perhaps, but I can't see them being more than a straw man. Factual issues? Ridiculous. Only by issuing a narrow ruling that prevents people from following their hearts can a judge overturn this case on facts.

We should look, all of us, at what lets one person say what another person can or cannot do when there is no injury, when it is not even the business, of others. Let us all live in harmony. Let us not castigate those who look, feel, or believe in any particular way, so long as harm is not intended. Even the Lone Ranger(teh REAL one) was gay.

right on Judge Walker. Thank you on behalf of all mothers who always want the best for their children.

Gay Marriage. Wrong. It actually removes childrens' rights. Every child has a right to a mother and father.
Relax people these issues are simple. Wrong is wrong.

Good. It would have been wrong for him to cut off the challenge before it even begins.

So, even though the case should be thrown out, the Judge won't dismiss it because he wants to see it go to trial. He's over-looking the fact that this specific case is invalid in the hopes that it will become an actual trial to determine whether or not homosexual marriage should be legalized. Way to try and force the issue; however, this case is about California Voters rights to enact a State Constitutional Amendment--this case won't do anything for the battle between gay-marriage and hetero-marriage. This case is over voter rights, and apparently voters don't have any when judges think they are morally superior.

Is it just a coincidence that this ruling came out of San Francisco? Maybe this judge is one of Mayor Newsome's drinking buddies...

An idiot and his vote are soon parted ... Prop. 8 cannot withstand a Constitutional challenge, so all you're hoping for is that it doesn't get struck down while the left is in office. Your bias is as clear as that you accuse the judge of having.

Apparently Brandon knows nothing about our legal system. Also, it's quite clear the homophobes care nothing about voter rights, they care about forcing their hate agenda on others. They're trying to appeal a law approved by the voters in Maine and the California Constitution allowed gay marriage and was written by representatives. It's about a vocal minority trying to theocratize our country with an extremist form of Christianity.

I think maybe judges are more fit to determine what cases "should be thrown out" than random lay-persons. I know, that idea's not cool in with today's "my opinion is as good as anyone's facts" mentality, but it's likely. Between a federal judge and a voter who thinks that something must happen because voters want it, I've more faith in the logic of the judge. He seems to know we don't live in a pure, mob-ruled democracy and that he has a job to interpret the law, which includes that founding principle of equal protection under the law.

"The battle between gay and hetero marriage?" Spare the nation the melodrama, no one's ever attacked heterosexual marriage. In excluding gays from marriage, voters take from gays thousands of benefits given people who unite in heterosexual marriage. What does including gays in marriage take from those people so as to say they've been attacked? The answer is exclusivity, priviledge, and per the consitution the law isn't supposed to favor any group with these things.

we've said this before, but one of the functions of the judicial system in this country is to protect the minority from the unjust will of the majority. every judge who upholds a challenge to prop 8 is doing his job. prop 8 has denied countless people the right to marry, and simply because it is the 'will of the people' (in this case a slim majority of voters) does not make it just.

hooray for Judge Walker. it's great to see that, in some ways, our government functions as it should.

So Brandon, all the rights that you hold near and dear, the ones that make you so proud to live here can be easily voted away under the claim "voters rights".

Please remember that when this Nation was first created one of the most indearing reasons was that "all people were created equal".

Chickens were given rights on the same ballot were living, breathing, people were denied equal rights. Voters can do some very strange things. Our Constitution thankfully protects us from the votes of prejudice and hate.

Sign the make divorce illegal petition

Brandon Stanford; It becomes about the Tyranny of the majority. The US constitution was build in order to protect minorities from this exact type of issue whereby the majority rules over minority's rights.
When we become a nation of the 'tyranny of the majority' we become a nation of fascists. EVERY PERSON SHOULD BE PROTECTED IN A DEMOCRACY. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT GO LIVE IN A COMMUNIST/SOCIALIST/FASCIST COUNTRY/SOCIETY.

Actually Brandon, there are some distinct consitutional problems with Prop 8, in terms of equality of all American citizens. I'll be honest in saying that I don't know the exact part of the constitution, but I think it's worth bringing to trial to see whether or not it there really is a confliction.

It becomes about the Tyranny of the majority. The US constitution was build in order to protect minorities from this exact type of issue whereby the majority rules over minority's rights.
When we become a nation of the 'tyranny of the majority' we become a nation of fascists. EVERY PERSON SHOULD BE PROTECTED IN A DEMOCRACY. IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT GO LIVE IN A COMMUNIST/SOCIALIST/FASCIST COUNTRY/SOCIETY.

Brandon -- This case has nothing to do with CA voter's rights -- that was decided by the CA Supreme Court. This case is about whether Prop 8 in creating two "seperate but equal" systems of relationship recognition for gay couples violates the equal protection clause of the US Constitution. Do your homework.

Sorry, Brandon Stanford voters rights, while important, end when that which is voted on is in conflict with the U.S. Constitution. That is what this case is about. Moreover, this is what courts and judges are for. But I'm sure you're one of those people who feel that "judicial activism" is defined as any judge or court who would dare issue a ruling that is contrary to what you think it should be.

Actually, the case is about whether voters have a right to amend the California Constitution to strip citizens of their First Amendment rights guaranteed in the United States Constitution, freedom of religion. Further, the court is right---refusal to hear an earlier case does not set precedent.

It's NOT a voter's rights issue because we do not live in a pure democracy. We live under a Constitutional Democracy. But, Brandon, you're probably too uneducated about our form of government to know that. Perhaps, you should investigate why you have such a need to ruin the lives of others-lives that have nothing to do with you and want nothing to do with you.

No, Brandon, it's about whether or not voters have the right to take away already-established rights simply by their sheer numbers. The right for gays to marry had already been established, and Prop 8 took it away. It's a valid legal, ethical, and constitutional question.

Some people are under the mistaken belief that the voters have the final say when it comes to the law. Maybe this case will help educate people to the reality that it's the courts that have the final say - not the tyrannical majority.

Rights of minority should never be put a vote. It's like 2 wolves and 1 lamb tajing a vote on who's dinner?

I hate judges that legislate from the bench. I heard he will hear dog's rights next. Dogs want their rights. One bark should be answered with food. Otherwise you will be taken to court Woof woof!

Brandon, I feel like you're overlooking the primary issue here: California voters cannot pass a state constitutional amendment that violates that US Constitution. Does Prop 8 violate the US Constitution? That's what this case is going to decide, and the judge thinks that the arguments in favor of that have merit. This has nothing to do with the judge feeling he is "morally superior" or not.

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