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05
Aug

California's Prop 8 overturned

propeightdemoA US federal judge has abolished California’s infamous Proposition 8 – the legal ruling that prohibited same-sex marriage in the State. The voter-approved ban was implemented in November 2008, with those in favour of the ban outnumbering those against by 52% to 48%. However, after months of review, Chief Judge Vaughn R Walker ruled Prop 8 “unconstitutional” on 4 August, and in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment – which states that “no state shall […] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”. 

Reflecting on the “archaic, shameful” race restrictions that marital partners were once subject to in most US states, Walker highlighted the absurdity that sexuality – another equally integral aspect of an individual’s identity – should be a barrier to their union with another person. 

In the district of San Francisco, elated gay rights activists and supporters gathered to celebrate when the news was announced, waving rainbow flags and carrying signs which read “We all deserve the freedom to marry” as they marched to the city hall.The ruling has attracted global attention, as it’s a decision that is expected to have far-reaching consequences. “What happens in this case won’t just affect the people of California, it will affect the country,” commented Theodore Olson, a former United States Solicitor General, “and what happens in the United States will affect the rest of the world.”The decision has also been welcomed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said, “For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves.”
Although the ruling now paves the way for the re-introduction of gay marriages in the State, it is expected that the decision will be challenged by backers of the ban, and if so, it is likely that the ultimate decision on the matter may be taken by the US Supreme Court.

Posted: 5 August 2010

Image © Karin Lau | Dreamstime.com

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