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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)

Comments here reflect why our founding fathers balanced the government as they did. Politicians are corrupted by power, judges have to factor in their opinions, and the people are generally too uninformed and easily impressionable. They knew how little it takes for the liars and haters to rally the fearful into their angry mob, and that is exactly what Prop 8 was. Some will say it was a movement to "protect marriage," but that's nonsense. Marriage hasn't improved in any way and no "movement" has happened since 8 passed. It was a mob that came in the night and dispersed when the deed was done.

They're gonna need a lot of circus tents for all the freak show ceremonies.

Its time to end the Gay Jim Crow laws..

Can any one of you people who are so adamant against allowing marriage equality provide one example of how your life would be adversely impacted if gays and lesbians were allowed to marry? Neither could your lawyers.

Dictating what other law abiding citizens can and cannot do is not a constitutional right. Being treated equally is.

What difference does it make if voters make a decision or legislators write laws, when a judge can come out of nowhere and overrule them? I mean, why do we even HAVE laws? Why do we have elections? Every time a decision is made by MAJORITY VOTE, some idiot judge has to contest it and try to overturn it.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are no longer being governed by and for the People. We are being RULED OVER by authoritarian, liberal judges who will continue to ignore laws and dismiss the will of the people, pushing their personal agendas until the outcome is in their favor.

Little by little, our great Republic is turning into a Socialist dictatorship.

I believe in equal rights for all but don't call it marriage, because it's not. Civil union or domestic parternship, whatever you want to call it but it ain't marriage.

By the way California voted first against Same Sex marriage and a judge overturned it. Then came prop 8 and now a judge wants to overturn it. I guess it doesn't matter in America what people vote for right?

If I vote for equal rights or against it whats the difference it's not what the American people want it's what those in power want.

There is no arguing this however you spin it.

I say the people have spoken. Let it be on the ballot just like abortion and everything else.

I didn't make it past the first sentence, and I already knew what the decision will be. "A federal judge in San Francisco . . ."
The answer is a no-brainer, Brucie !

I say lets remove the word "Marriage" as a legal term since it upsets the religious so much and simply make them all "Civil Unions".

Anyone have an evolutionary justification for homesexuality? Anything Bueller Bueller?

First of all, being gay is not a choice. Repeat this with me....not a choice. If a man or woman has been married for 25 years and then decides to embrace their true sexuality and "be themselves"-this does not in any way result in said action to be a choice. They had been denying themselves to be true to who they are and had enough. Putting on a blue shirt or black shirt in the morning is a choice. Acknowledging my sexuality is not. My husband and I stood before God, family & friends last year in Iowa and were legally wed. Last I knew Iowa was still standing, no one has attempted to marry their beloved horse, cow or pig and life has done what it always does- it goes on. Never in a million years would I ever have believed that Iowa would be more progressive on gay issues (or any for that matter) than California. And just how do all of you hate-mongers know that the judge is gay? Hmmmmm....are we tossing stones from glass patios?

It's fine if certain religions don't acknowledge that 'homosexuals' are 'moral', or even good role models. Its even fine that they believe homosexuals are 'bad'.

whats NOT fine, is when a despised group is targetted by the majority, and thier rights are stripped away. Stripping away any citizens constitutional rights, no matter how despised, is immoral.

In our own nation, blacks were not considered 'citizens' until slavery was abolished. Japanese people were put in internment camps. In Germany, laws were enacted to strip Jews of citizenship.

Do the proponents of proposition 8 REALLY want to defend marriage? Fine. Then work on your own marriage. Make them better. Just stay out of the business of gay people, who after all, just want the same access and priveledges that you do.

All you anti-gay marriage people... get over yourself. Don't you have anything better to do? Why don't you go pray to your organized religions and continue to buy into those "stories" that you use as a shield for your ignorance and intolerance of others? Leave others alone. Let people live and marry who they want to marry, as long as they are consenting adults. All you haters out there are the same people who would vote for segregation and vote against interacial marriage. The COURTS decided those laws. Remember? Not the people. Grow up and take stock of your own sad lives and ask yourself why you feel the need to take rights away from ordinary tax-paying individuals.

This is a non story. As they cannot adopt legally, they are limited to a lifespan by default. So who cares what they do for the next 20-45 years or so?

I love the cowards who are so afraid of marriage between the same sex. You waste your day fighting against gay marriage WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO FIGHT FOR YOUR OWN MARRIAGE? HOW IS THAT AFFAIR GOING? HOW ABOUT THINKING THAT HITTING YOUR WIFE IS OK? OR SLEEPING WITH YOUR CO WORKER IS A GOOD IDEA? KEEP YOUR EYES ON YOUR OWN MARRIAGE. I hope you are putting the same effort and time spent on your marriage as you are on what other people are doing. When I am looking at what others rather than look at myself, it is because I am fear of what I will see.

Oh the suspense... I am anxiously awaiting to see this verdict as it is the first case that directly challenges whether or not same-sex couples would A. effect traditional marriage (ahem, only if your marriage was THAT rocky to begin with) and B. whether or not being raised by a same-sex couple is harmful to a child. For the later, no independent studies have shown that to be true and actually show that they grow up quite healthy (and are likely more adaptable to today's society).

The shining light is that this judge is a conservative judge and this is a conservative issue (almost all same-sex favorable rulings have been by conservative judges as this is truly, and should be, a conservative stance). As a gay man and American citizen I love all my fellow Americans, regardless of their personal views, and would never impose my own on anyone else and especially not to take away their equality. Conservative idea? Absolutely. Alas I hope that open hearts and open minds prevail in this case because it's become so personal with hate that reason seems fleeting.

I love how people are complaining about California becoming Sodom - you do realize that in order to justify your homophobia and intolerance, you're citing a story that ends with a woman getting turned into a pillar of salt, right?

P.S. To all of you "What is there to rule on the people decided?" people, well it's called whether or not a law is constitutional or not. That is what there is to rule on. Democracy is mob rule so the mob needs moderated from time to time and we gave that job to the courts remember? Do you REALLY think the civil rights act would have been passed in the 60's if it was put to a popular vote? Ya, don't think so.

Love is Love! Google the Soldiers of Thebes. Gays and Lesbians have been your brothers and sisters since the beginning of time, way before the bible was written.

It is impossible for two gay people to procreate together.

If you allow gay people to get married, we might as well allow polygamy and animals with humans.

I Mr. Ed take thee Wilbur to be my wedded husband!

Give me a break!

If it was all about rights and love then the gays would be happy with domestic partnerships, but the gay aren’t happy. What this is really about is that they want to be defined as “married” so that society in general will accept a gay partnership as an equal to a normal marriage.

The gays want their taboo lifestyle to be viewed as a normal lifestyle when society, history and culture have deemed it as something different. Gay partnerships do not have the same social value as normal marriage, nor should our society view them as equal.

Homosexuals are different then heterosexuals, that’s why we have given their sexual preferences a special name, because they are not the same.

Why should we name two different things the same name? Why should our culture treat two very different things as the same? My normal marriage is different from your gay partnership in many ways and I do not want society defining them as the same.

Wow, there are a lot of amazing posts here. Do we not live in a free country? Marriage has it's definition and so does a civil union. What is the real difference between same sex and opposite sex? Think about it....it is about religions who oppose this and drive the government to get involved and money. Absolutely, the government shouldn't have a say, however, that being said, you have all the other companies out there IE: Health Care and Insurance, who also deny benefits. Is that a right way to look at things? Certainly not in a more advanced society as we are today, however, they too are free to do business. Thus the delima of where the government gets involved.

In order for same sex unions to have the same opportunities that opposite sex unions have, there unfortunately needs to be a mechanism put into place for such companies who act in the manor they do.

Why is it right for your neighbor to tell you what you can and can't do? In effect, this is what prop 8 allowed for; the denial of an individuals freedoms. Constitutionaly right?

If we want a play on words, than 'marriage' should be delt away with as we move into this foolish 'politically correct' realm and all should be called 'civil unions' whether or not you are same sex or opposite sex. Doing so will eliminate a lot of the crud that is in our court systems wasting yet more tax payer money.

Equal Rights are as Follows:

Gay Men can marry women.

Straight Men can marry women.

Bi-Sexual men can marry women.

All Men have the same, equal, right.

This is about a new, completely new, right.

This new right would allow:

Straight Men to marry men.

Gay Men to marry men.

Bi-Sexual men to marry men.

Just because some people claim they would like a new right more than an existing right - the Constitution must be re-written to give them an entirely new right not mentioned in the constitution.

Where would these rights on demand end - men marrying sheep ???

Men marrying dolphins ???

If the judges of this country go down that road - the Republic has failed to keep it's promise to those who constituted this country.

This becomes a country ruled by men in black robes - not a country ruled by law.

Replying to DanO!
Gay marriage is sick. My kids think its sick and they need to grow up in a somewhat normal world. We do not need it shoved down our throats. Do you need more reasons?

Then will they sue churches for not marrying them?

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