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04 August 2010 @ 06:30 pm
California Proposition 8 overturned on both due process and equal protection  
It's already all over my friendslist, but on the off chance that you don't read any of the people I read, and that no one else on your friendslist has posted it, Vaughn R. Walker, US District Chief Judge, US District Court for the Northern District of California, has ruled that California Proposition 8, which amended the California State Constitution to prescribe marriage as being between one man and one woman, violates the US Constitution, Article 14, under both the Due Process and the Equal Protection clauses.


Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.


Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result, see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.

Several times while I was reading, I stopped to (mentally) applaud. One of them, which I can't find now, was essentially, "Majority be damned; basic human rights are not subject to a popular vote. Deal." Only in much more legalistic language.

Go read it.


ETA: Here's the ruling as a searchable PDF. http://extras.mercurynews.com/news/prop8ruling.pdf
browngirl on August 4th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
*cheers* Thank you for the link!
Ed Schweppe: vote at your own riskedschweppe on August 5th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)

One of them, which I can't find now, was essentially, "Majority be damned; basic human rights are not subject to a popular vote. Deal." Only in much more legalistic language.

This, perhaps?

That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant, as "fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."
(page 116)
Janet Miles, CAP-OM: rightsjanetmiles on August 5th, 2010 12:45 am (UTC)
Yep, that. Also, on page 24,
An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determinations of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters’ determinations must find at least some support in evidence. This is especially so when those determinations enact into law classifications of persons. Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class of citizens suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.

Stephen Harrissweh on August 5th, 2010 02:24 am (UTC)
To my mind the more interesting statement is "California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings."

What we have, here, is the state being screwed by it's own provisions (those that allowed prop 8 to appear on the ballot and be voted on). Clearly the state knew it was bad and wrong; they were forced into it.

But despite that I might argue that the state had a duty to argue and defend the position of the electorate; by failing to defend prop8 they have demonstrated contempt to the electorate; it's not the role of state officials to pre-emptively decide that a pro-forma legally binding ballot should not be defended.

I would have been so much happier to have seen the state defend the proposition and _then_ have it overturned. As it stands I see an outlet for the bigoted majority to claim their rights have been denied because the state effectively denied them due process.

Janet Miles, CAP-OM: no-hatejanetmiles on August 5th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
I think it's a no-win situation for the state government -- recall the lambasting Obama took when the US Attorney General was required to defend either DOMA or DADT, I don't remember which off-hand.
pauamma on August 5th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
IIRC, when the CDA was voted, the then-AG (Edwin Meese?) stated he would block all DOJ attempts to enforce it because it was obviously unconstitutional.