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Federal judge to rule on whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry [Updated]

Protesters marched into the early morning in Los Angeles yesterday, expressing their anger against the passage of Proposition 8.

A federal judge in San Francisco will decide Wednesday whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who presided over a trial earlier this year on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, will release his long-awaited ruling Wednesday on whether the 2008 ballot initiative violates the U.S. Constitution, a court spokeswoman said. [Updated, 5:50 p.m.: His ruling is expected to be released between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.]

Walker, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, heard myriad witnesses testify about the history of marriage, the nature of homosexuality and the degree of power gays and lesbians possess in the political system during the 2 1/2-week trial in January.

Most of the testimony favored marriage rights for homosexuals. Walker’s decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Los Angeles-based group funding the litigation hired former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a conservative, and noted litigator David Boies, who squared off against Olson in Bush vs. Gore, to represent two couples who are challenging Proposition 8.

The California Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 that gays and lesbians were entitled to marry under the state Constitution in an historic ruling in May 2008. Voters passed Proposition 8 six months later, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Walker will decide whether California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates equal protection and due process rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco

Photo: Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (252)

It will be overturned, not because it's wrong but because it's what the people in power want.

That's a poorly worded headline. EVERYONE has the same right to marriage as everyone else, whether there is a bride+groom requiremnet for state licensing or not. If you do not WANT to exercise that right, we are not obligated to change it.

Just about all of the arguments for neutering marriage you'll see in these comments or hear from a court I've already addressed in my link.

Note to the judge: Your Honor, Proposition 8 was passed by the majority of voters in California. It clearly is the Will of the People. To strike down this law, to nullify it, would be to subvert the principles on which this Republic was founded.

Maura Dolan's headline and most of her story implies the ruling deals only with gays and lesbians. Actually, it deals with "same-sex" marriage. Otherwise, the law would be discriminatory by prohibiting a straight from marrying another of the same sex. There would be no requirement to prove you are gay or lesbian to marry another of the same sex.

No one has the constitutional right to get married. No one has the right to privacy either.

La Times, Sinced when do you allow the "author" of your articles to "monitor" and "approve" the comments left by your readership? Again and again, your abundant disregard for open and frank criticism of anything you champion is plain for all to see...

Marriage is strictly a religious institution. No one has a "constitutional" right to get married. No one has a right to privacy, either.

OK, so let me see if I have this straight: homosexuals claim that their orientation is not a choice, but is encoded in their genes. They further insist that everyone is at least partially gay, on a "spectrum" from 100% straight to 100% gay, right?

So at what percentage is is there no longer any choice in the matter? 10 percent? 20 percent? 51 percent?

Is there some range in the middle that can go either way? Does that explain bisexuals, or do they just want to double their chances for getting a date? Wouldn't it follow that everyone not 100% one way or the other is bisexual? Then why do they appear in such MUCH lower numbers?

If a person is 20% gay, should he have a boyfriend one year for every 5 years he spends in heterosexual relationships? How could he not? Could it be that he has made a CHOICE in determining his sexual orientation?

OK, even granting the unproven assumption that there is a genetic predisposition one way or the other, does it follow that one should necessarily surrender to any "urge"?

Lots of conditions have genetic components: sickle-cell anemia, schizophrenia, Down's syndrome, eye color.... Some should be accepted as normal, some not. That's where the CHOICE comes in, and it should be made on better grounds than what is politically correct at any particular time.

Until the early 1970s, the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality a sexual deviation, and treatable to varying degrees. After much political pressure (including activists of the Gay Liberation Front disrupting a San Francisco convention of the APA, shouting down anyone who objected to their agenda) in 1973 the membership NARROWLY voted to declassify homosexuality as a deviation.

Democracy is great, but scientific truth is not subject to the popular vote. But as with most liberal causes, anyone who doesn't adhere to "the party line" is likely to be excoriated and ruined (ask any scientist who questions the "consensus" on man-made global warming.) But liberals also know that repeating a lie often enough can make many people believe it. Apparently, with "King and King" and "Heather Has Two Mommies" they've decided that repeating it early is useful, too.

It appears the fact the judge ruling in this case is gay is not relevant to the story, at least if you're the LA Times. Credible journalism at its best...

I am very exctied this, becuase as a striaght male, I think I should be able to marry more than one woman. I see no reason why the state should have any say over whether I have one wife or two or four of ten. Next, my cousin is really hot and I do not see why I can't marry her.

Everything would be fine if gays/lesbians termed their unions something else (such as a domestic partnership.) Domestic partnerships already have all the same rights at heterosexual couples as far as California laws are concerned.

I don't have a problem with gays/lesbians having all the same rights as married couples...but I have a big problem with changing the definition of marriage to accommodate that lifestyle. Call it something else. Call it whatever you want - just not marriage. File joint tax returns. Adopt a family. Enjoy all the same rights as everyone else - just don't re-define marriage.


Men ( straight or gay ) can marry women - is that equal rights ???

The only difference between straight men and gay men - based on the pro-gay argument - is gay men like women.

Gay men's argument is based totally on how they feel.

Some men feel like marring sheep.

Some men feel like marring children.

Some men feel like marring multiple women.

IF this is based on how they feel - where exactly do that logic lead ???

It's not a question of someone having a Constitutional right. The Constitution says nothing about marriage and that's the point - the government has no business and no Constitutional authority for telling you whom you can marry. State governments got into the business of marriage licenses so that they could discriminate against black/white marriages. It has been a tool for discrimination since. Get the government OUT of the marriage business.

Per the dissenting opinion at the CA Supreme Court, if gays can marry because the government has no compelling public interest in gender of the partners, then there is also no rational basis to limit the number of partners either - so Utah will now get their polygamy back... and they also have the freedom of religion argument.

Polygamy NOW! Its my choice, its my right! Right?

btw, the lawyers seem to have done just about the worst job possible of presenting the case of compelling public interest, per Judge Walker's comments, so he already telegraphed his decision. "Based on the evidence presented,..."

Will this impact the strength of the appeal? Is the assertion of a compelling public interest, without deep evidence, sufficient to support the legal argument that the government, or the people through petition, have the right to determine social standards that they think will best protect society?

Love is love? Love is the Cross. God made the law, and we are all condemned by the law. It was the Cross that is love. Denying the cross is fatal. Obey the Father and live.

ive been reading the pro gay marriage comments...you say you want equal rights...but you already do have them in : housing, employment, hospitilization,religion,military.

so now you want marriage..now after marriage...you will want it in the public schools and taught to our kids as it being normal. well its not normal and the pple in cali have spoken.

its no wonder our country is going to hell!

Does it ever end? What is it with the the "judge shopping" anytime some liberal has an ax to grind?

Whenever some perversity or absurdity gets sent packing by the voters or the courts or the legislature because it's ridiculous on its very face, the warped liberal "progressive" agenda-pushers keep bringing it back until it winds up before some activist wacko anti-constitutional judge who will rubber-stamp their weird request under some hypocritical pretext or other.

Is this America or what? Something wrong with this picture?

@Neil&Bob:
There are laws and customs and general practices taught in the Bible that are generally conceived as reprehensible by today's Christian and secular standards. Saying "because the bible says so" becomes less valid if you don't follow everything in the bible. The Point that is trying to be made when they quote a piece of contradictory scripture is this: The bible as a whole can be interpreted in so many different ways, So stop using it to judge other people. Use it to guide your own life and no one else.

TheFuture says: "Sorry conservatives, the future is coming. You should really learn to accept it, because in 20 years you're going to look like the people who fought desegregation."

===========

@TheFuture: sorry, but once again a liberal "progressive" gets it all topsy-turvy.

One day we'll look at all the rampant abortion much the same way we now look at acts of genocide.

But as for your precious gay marriage, nothing new under the sun there. Homosexuals have been at it for millennia -- and it's still looked at as the unnatural, aberrant, acquired misbehavior that it is. As it will time and again.

Homosexuality is a very sad mental illness. To continue catering to these poor people that it is not, only makes it more of an assurance that they will never get the help they need to recover from this tragic illness.

No means no? A federal judge has no right to be involved? Who are you people and why have you forgotten the core teaching of your government lessons from elementary school?

Consider the merits of our system of checks and balances and the possibility of any citizen to appeal their government through ballot measures, legal hearings, petitioning their elected representatives, and so many other measures of civil recourse before you decide that any decision is final. What will sustain the greatness of our society is our willingness to reevaluate its own decisions over and over again. Rigidity will hasten decay. Loosen up, give equality the space it deserves.

Yes please vote to change the marriage laws. There are several women and a horse that I want to marry

You can still dress it up and get married. It still is a sin for sex between the same sexes.

If you don't believe that, then who cares what the government says.

I love you no matter what you do!

Why even bother to vote anymore, when a single judge is just going to over rule it anyway? The judicial system has way to much power over the voting public.

Love everyone forgien and domestic

 
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