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Prop. 8 foes, backers look to Supreme Court showdown on gay marriage [Updated]

A day after Proposition 8 was thrown out in court, both sides in California's debate over gay marriage are focusing on the next fight in a battle that is likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opponents of gay marriage immediately vowed to appeal a federal judge's ruling saying same-sex unions were legal in California. [Updated at 10:30 a.m.: Gay-marriage opponents formally filed the appeal Thursday morning.]

The next step will come Friday, when U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker holds a new hearing. The judge stayed his order allowing gay marriage at least until then. And it remains unclear if --and when -- gay marriages will begin again in the state.

Lawyers on both sides expect the ruling to be appealed and ultimately to reach the Supreme Court during the next few years.

Walker's decision was being carefully analyzed by attorneys with an eye on how the high court might view his legal reasoning.

At least some legal experts said his lengthy recitation of the testimony could bolster his ruling during the appeals to come. Higher courts generally defer to trial judges' rulings on factual questions that stem from a trial, although they still could determine that he was wrong on the law.

John Eastman, a conservative scholar who supported Proposition 8, said Walker's analysis and detailed references to trial evidence were likely to persuade Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, a swing vote on the high court, to rule in favor of same-sex marriage.

"I think Justice Kennedy is going to side with Judge Walker," said the former dean of Chapman University Law School.

Barry McDonald, a constitutional law professor at Pepperdine University, said Walker's findings that homosexuality was a biological status instead of a voluntary choice, that children didn't suffer harm when raised by same-sex couples and that Proposition 8 was based primarily on irrational fear of homosexuality were "going to make it more difficult for appellate courts to overturn this court's ruling."

Edward E. Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, said he believed the judge's ruling was both legally and morally wrong.

"All public law and public policy is developed from some moral perspective, the morality that society judges is important," he said. To say that society shouldn't base its laws on moral views is "hard to even comprehend," he said.

Gay-marriage opponents plan to appeal the ruling to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court's decision will probably be appealed to the Supreme Court.

In his decision, Walker said the evidence showed that "domestic partnerships exist solely to differentiate same-sex unions from marriage" and that marriage is "culturally superior."

California "has no interest in differentiating between same-sex and opposite-sex unions," Walker said in his 136-page ruling.

The ruling was the first in the country to strike down a marriage ban on federal constitutional grounds. Previous cases have cited state constitutions.

In striking down Proposition 8, Walker said the ban violated the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Previous court decisions have established that the ability to marry is a fundamental right that cannot be denied to people without a compelling rationale, Walker said. Proposition 8 violated that right and discriminated on the basis of both sex and sexual orientation in violation of the equal protection clause, he ruled.

-- Maura Dolan, Carol J. Williams and Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: Jovanie Arvaezi, left, and Mark Vaccarino at the West Hollywood rally on Aug. 4, 2010, celebrating the Proposition 8 ruling. “We hope to get married soon,” Vaccarino said. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

Prop. 8 ruling: Full Coverage

Comments () | Archives (175)

What a bunch of simple minded idiots the pro 8 crowd is. Activist judges, usurping the will of the people blah blah blah....
Read the constitution, then read the ruling and THEN you are entitled to your opinion. When you are reading the constitution please read the whole thing, no picking and choosing like you do with the bible, its all or none. (shellfish anyone?)
LOSERS, thats what you are, you have lost and now are on the shameful side of history, shame, shame shame on you

I can't believe a list of arguments based upon falsehoods, untruths, and misinformation than I have reading these comments on pro-Prop 8 people here has ever been worse.

First, stop arguing its the will of god. Not everyone is Christian in this American society or prscribe to its beliefs. There are some who don't even believe in a god, much less yours. Welcome to a country with freedom of religion and if you don't like the fact that others don't believe in YOUR god, then go away. Just because some old book written by a people so out of date and unrelated to the modern world says something, that something is not fact, no matter how much you wish it. So those arguments are a wash.

Secondly, for those of you who don't know, America is NOT a democracy. Its a republic. Recite the Pledge of Alliegience right now. "To the Republic." It says what it is right there. We elect representatives to represent us.

Next, even if a "majority" of people voted, the Constitution protects certain rights regardless of the will of the people. For example, for years blacks could not vote because the majority did not think they should. So, if a majority of Americans decide they think all red heads shouldn't be able to marry, they are still protected by the Constitution regardless of the moral majority's decision. How about next time, its short people or fat people or hispanic people. The system is put in place to protect the people...from itself on occasion if it has to. Otherwise, we'd still have segregation and Jim Crow laws.

Next, yes a gay judge can make a ruling on this. It doesn't make it bias. If a straight judge ruled in favor of Prop , would you be calling it bias? No, more than likely not.

I know its been already smashed as an argument, but marriage is NOT solely for procreation. Infertile people can marry. Also, marriage is no longer a "religious" institution. It has a basis for its origins in religion, but it also predates Christianity by centuries. And atheists can be married. And the STATE recognizes marriage regardless of religion or lack thereof. Never heard of a "CIVIL CEREMONY." Last I checked, there wasn't a religious requirement to marriage to receive the benefits of it.

And worried about the sanctity of marriage? Well, there are thousands upon thousands of bad marriages, sham marriages, single parents, DIVORCED parents out there already. And not to mention divorce is also not Christian, yet that is allowed. Hmmm...go figure they'd be hypocrites. They've already shown homosexual marriage does not hurt the child nor society while the defense at trial couldn't come up with any actual expert testimony to back up their weak claims.

I wish most would just admit the fact they are irrationally afraid of homosexuals, with deep rooted bigotry in that fear, as opposed to trying to create reasons to excuse their want to treat homosexuals are second class citizens because they are afraid of the lifestyle.

Wow, here come the religious freaks with all the Biblical nonsense.

Majority rules when??? Bigotry can't just be voted in as law. So in the 50's and 60's when the majority of Americans wanted segregation we should have kept it that way? Oh but that's different...is it so different? Slavery was a majority opinion at one point.

Come on people, grow up!!! How does this hurt you...It's not like marriage is a sacred thing---60% divorce rate. Can't argue with that now can you! Oh and by the way, I'm not gay.

Civil Unions can be structured to give the same rights as Marriage, this issue has nothing to do with Civil Rights. Should we change the definition of Lesbian because a man and woman want to be called a Lesbian?

Let's not forget that Regan appointed the Judge. So what do you conservatives have to say now! Oh wait, he's gay that's why he ruled the way he did...You guys are absolute idiots!

People who are complaining about this ruling (especially those whining about it overturned the will of the people) are missing some important facts.

1. The court system exists partially to keep the tyranny of the majority from trampling on the rights of a minority. By pointing out that Prop 8 was directly in opposition to both the Due Process and Equal Protection parts of the US Constitution (and ruling that the law must be struck down), Judge Walker did exactly what he's supposed to do -- his job.

2. Judge Walker decided the case based on the evidence and testimony provided during the case itself. Some people seem to think he just was asked about gay marriage & thought it would be swell -- NOT the case. If you take the time to read the entire decision, you'll see that the Pro-8 side put on almost NO case whatsoever. One of their "expert witnesses" was basing his "expert opinions" on books that he himself had written. Another witness claimed that he came to his conclusions based on something he read on the internet (not citing a specific source or document -- just "the internet"). As a matter of law, Judge Walker HAD to make his decision based on the evidence and testimony presented at trial -- he's not allowed to make his rulings based on public opinion or on the "sacred" texts of any religion.
Marriage is *not* a word which only refers to a rite performed in a religious institution or by a religious official of any kind. Our government recognizes civil marriage and gives people married in civil cermonies exactly the same rights it gives to people who are wed in religious ceremonies. The question before Judge Walker dealt with civil marriage -- NOT religious marriage.

If your denomination's interpretation of scripture tells you that marriage is only to be between a man and a woman, that's an excellent reason for your religious institution to go on refusing to bless same-sex marriage ceremonies. It's also an excellent reason for you not to marry someone whose reproductive organs match your own. It is *not* however a valid reason to withhold civil marriage licenses from those who don't share your religious beliefs. It's also not a valid reason to keep religious institutions that do want to bless same-sex unions from performing marriage ceremonies for its congregants.

The problem with trying to make laws based on religiously-based morality is that nobody can agree which religion/denomination should be able to force its views on everyone else. Contrary to what the Pro-8 people are telling you, Judge Walker's ruling doesn't "force" gay marriage on anyone. Nobody is going to force anyone to marry someone of the same sex. Nobody is going to force any religious institution to perform marriage ceremonies for couples it doesn't support. For people currently in "traditional" marriages, nothing is going to change. Just ask people in Iowa or Massachusetts or Canada or Iceland, or anywhere else which currently has marriage equality.

Remember, everyone -- we are a nation whose laws are based in our Constitution. Judge Walker acted properly by showing how and why Prop 8 violated our Constitution.

What an ignorant comment steve turner. Majority does not rule when it actively violates the Constitution.

The people said, "YES", to Prop 8 and now its considered unconstitutional, WHY? Now my rights to live in America as a Christian Man have been violated. I love my fellow man regardless of what they think about me but I will not tolerate my rights as a voter in this country to be taken lightly. "DON'T TREAD ON ME". Please read Romams 1:26-32 Hebrews 13:4. You decide.

NOt one person here has yet to realize this entire argument is base on a false minority. How can we ever allow that term to be used on any group that people can willing join and exit? That to me is proof in itself that the minority is false and thus can't be discrimated against. Wanda Sykes Straight, got dissed, turn gay, joined march I mean CMON

From the Uk.

I remember in the 70's as a school kid an enlightened teacher of mine trying to explain how the constitution of the USA attempted to protect 'rights' which belonged to all citizens. How even the majority could not remove those 'rights'. At that time she citied the example of 'equal protection' but also explained how evolving society's struggle to adhere to this rule.

It was the first time I ever connected my own sexuality with equal rights!


@socalal - Pedophiles exploit children that cannot use the judgement needed to consent. Homosexuals are adults and hurt no one. If you want to use the argument that homosexuals are all pedophiles I will then ask you to explain heterosexual pedophiles. Base your argument on logic not inflamatory hyperbole.

What ever happened to limited government and freedom for the "people." I feel like most of those angry over this decision believe that that laws that tax or regulate passed by a majority of our popularly elected leaders constitutes a violation of their rights and is an unwarranted and impermissible government intrusion. So how can somebody who feels that way now turn around and say that this decision is wrong because it recognized a right (the basic right to love and be with whoever one chooses) that was taken away by an act of popular vote. Consistency is all I ask...

Terry, I think you missed my point. I figured it went without saying that when Citizen A complains about being offended, it's a much weaker complaint than Citizen B complaining about lost rights. But, sarcasm doesn't carry so well here.

Hey Religious nuts, Marriage isn't a "Religious" term. Marriage has been around for over 5000 years, almost as long as you say the PLANET has been here.

Get over yourselves.

To all those people, like Gail Powell, who are quoting Bible scriptures:

To those of us who are of different religions, agnostic or atheistic they are not pursuasive. You're just preaching to the chior. And, if you haven't been paying attention to the news, the phrase "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the 1950s, in the Cold War climate. It's been proposed that the Pledge of Allegiance should be restored to its original form...

On another news site I saw many people quoting scriptures about Sodom and Gomorrah. Please, not here. If you read the whole story, he sent his two virgin daughters out into a mob to be raped all night. They died the next morning. Just how is that holier than being a homosexual?

Oh, how the abusers love to play the victim!
Henry Williams: "Now my rights to live in America as a Christian Man have been violated."
Chuck B: "Forget separation of Church and state how bout state and government not telling me what I need to do morally."

As a "Christian Man" in America, you have the right to believe in and practice Christianity. That's it. You don't have the right to a government that only passes laws with which you agree. You don't have the right to compel the government to persecute others. The government's refusal to do so doesn't force you to do anything. You still don't have to get a same-sex marriage, and if you'd really been "forced" to accept anything yesterday, I wouldn't be responding to so much melodramatic nonsense today.

The comments about Judge Walker being biased because he is allegedly gay are interesting; what about the bias of a straight judge(s), say on the Supreme Court, ruling against gay marriage? How have those decisions/will those decisions--and there have been several--not been/not be biased as well?

gay people being married doesnt effect the strait people that are married...who cares!....let people be happy. lets keep church morals and state separate.

We have a system of checks and balances for a reason. If we vote for a law that discriminates even if it passes doesn't mean it should be legal. This is how the system is supposed to work. Its a long process filled with all kinds of back and forth, but its meant to protect people's rights.

As for the day of revelation coming... well that's just silly life is already hell on earth. Got to just enjoy the ride.

Prop 8 is just a way for people of prejudice to deny equal rights to those different from themselves. Next thing you know, voters will make gay people wear a pink triangle on their sleeve or ride in the back of the bus. Good thing one judge finally saw this law for what it is. Long live the 14th Amendment!

In response to the comment below by ASTROLAD...It's actually the other way around... It no longer is a democracy (power of the poeple) when THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WHO VOTED YES ON PROP 8 end up LOSING because of 1 judge...WHAT BECOMES THE PURPOSE OF VOTING, WHEN MAJORITY RULES NO LONGER APPLY?????? and I think that the government should legislate MORALITY because without morals, then our society becomes an anarchy... i think that's what a lot of you would rather have. Your life will come and go on earth, better make the most of it WHILTE keeping in mind the consequences...what will happen to you after you've passed by this temporary reality?

In response to: "When government legislates morality, it becomes a theocracy, not a democracy. Like Iran. Opponents to gay marriage are always free to move.

Posted by: ASTROLAD | August 05, 2010 at 08:47 AM"

Maybe people should worry about what goes on under their own roof and not worry about what other people want to do with their life, I am not gay but for the life of me I don't know why what people want to do behind closed doors should matter
to strangers.

Walkers decision clearly shows the fallacy in the arguments presented by the proponents of prop 8. The oppononents of repeal had only two witnesses, both which were deemed unqualified for testimony. In short, the biased and discriminatory argument against marriage equality did not hold water in a court of law.

Many people on this comment page continue to cry foul that their vote was not counted when a biased campagin led on by the defense of marriage organization portrayed same sex couples as a danger to children, and a hinderance toward society if they were to obtain the same rights heterosexual couples already enjoy.

Being a veteran and an openly gay man I cannot for the life of me see how me having full and equal treatment under the law effects your family, endangers your children, and tarnishes the marriage you already enjoy.

SOCIALIST America We HAVE ARRIVED!! I don't care what the issue is, The people are SUPPOSE to have a say!! Not a JUDGE!!. We are speeding along on a greased sled down the "slippery Slope" Every American Should be ALARMED!!! This AGAIN has NOTHING to do with the issue!!!! People Where you stand on this issue is a seperate debate..... THIS IS ABOUT Americans losing the right to vote and have it matter!!

The ignorance of some of these comments is astounding to me. Thankfully we have balance and judicial process in our country.

This bottom line is that issue has nothing to do with “religious” marriage. Do what you want in your churches. This issue is about the recognition of the CIVIL marriage by the state of CA and the rights and benefits that come along with that. Do your research.

Civil marriage is the legal concept of marriage as a governmental institution IRRESPECTIVE of religious affiliation, in accordance with marriage laws of the jurisdiction. There are many benefits that come along with state recognized marriage. By denying a specific class of people these benefits and the right to the benefits you are discriminating against a minority – plain & simple.

"The rights of minorities do not depend upon the goodwill of the majority and cannot be eliminated by majority vote. The right of minorities are protected because democratic laws and institutions protect the rights of ALL citizens."
-Thomas Jefferson

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