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California Judge Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban :-)
August 5, 2010
12:59 am
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Aquarian
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In a major victory for gay rights activists, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a voter initiative banning same-sex marriage in California violated the Constitution's equal protection and due process rights clauses.

After a five-month wait, 9th Circuit District Court Judge Vaughn Walker offered a 136-page decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, firmly rejecting Proposition 8, which was passed by voters in November 2008.

"Although Proposition 8 fails to possess even a rational basis, the evidence presented at trial shows that gays and lesbians are the type of minority strict scrutiny was designed to protect," Walker ruled.

"Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs' objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy -- namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages."

"Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society."

The judgment was the first offered by a federal court with respect to laws banning gay marriage at the state level and it promises to have massive reverberations across the political and judicial landscape. The decision is now expected to head to the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court (also based in San Francisco) for appeal and from there to the Supreme Court.

In the interim, however, Walker's ruling gave gay-rights activists a second occasion to rejoice in less than a month. In July, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as one man and one woman, was also unconstitutional.

In a major victory for gay rights activists, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a voter initiative banning same-sex marriage in California violated the Constitution's equal protection and due process rights clauses.

After a five-month wait, 9th Circuit District Court Judge Vaughn Walker offered a 136-page decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, firmly rejecting Proposition 8, which was passed by voters in November 2008.

"Although Proposition 8 fails to possess even a rational basis, the evidence presented at trial shows that gays and lesbians are the type of minority strict scrutiny was designed to protect," Walker ruled.

"Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs' objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy -- namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages."

"Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society."

The judgment was the first offered by a federal court with respect to laws banning gay marriage at the state level and it promises to have massive reverberations across the political and judicial landscape. The decision is now expected to head to the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court (also based in San Francisco) for appeal and from there to the Supreme Court.

In the interim, however, Walker's ruling gave gay-rights activists a second occasion to rejoice in less than a month. In July, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as one man and one woman, was also unconstitutional.
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"Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a statement.

"It is not only a home run, it is a grand slam," said Jon Davidson the legal director at Lambda Legal, the country's largest and oldest LBGT legal organization. "This decisions is not going to be the end of this fight, the proponents have already said they will appeal. But I think the factual findings that the judge has made and his clear and detailed analysis will be important to frame the case as it goes up on appeal."

"This is part of an educational process that is going on in this country. When judges look outside of the political process and they go through the evidence and treat arguments as more than just sound bites they come to the conclusion that withholding marriage from same sex couples hurts them and their families and doesn't help anyone. That helps move the conversation."

Wednesday's decision came after lengthy, substantive, and at times provocative legal deliberations in which an odd-couple pairing of lawyers took on the cause of overturning the same-sex marriage ban. Theodore Olson and David Boies -- direct adversaries in the 2000 Supreme Court presidential recount battle -- made the case that Prop 8 violated both the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution. The law, the two argued, was discriminatory on the basis of both sexual orientation and on the basis of sex in addition to violating the principle that marriage was a personal liberty.

"The Supreme Court has said that marriage is the most important relation in life. Now that's being withheld from the plaintiffs," Olson said in his closing argument. "Marriage, the Supreme Court has said again and again, is a component of liberty, privacy, spirituality and autonomy."

Representing the defense, another Washington-based lawyer, Charles Cooper leaned heavily on the social impact of codifying gay marriage, arguing that "marriage is to channel the sexual behavior between men and women into a procreative union."

In deciding the case, Walker offered a variety of findings that may be as important as the ruling itself. Among them were the following:

* "Sexual orientation is commonly discussed as a characteristic of the individual. Sexual orientation is fundamental to a person's identity and is a distinguishing characteristic that defines gays and lesbians as a discrete group. Proponents' assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence."

* "Individuals do not generally choose their sexual orientation. No credible evidence supports a finding that an individual may, through conscious decision, therapeutic intervention or any other method, change his or her sexual orientation."

* "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions. Like opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples have happy, satisfying relationships and form deep emotional bonds and strong commitments to their partners. Standardized measures of relationship satisfaction, relationship adjustment and love do not differ depending on whether a couple is same-sex or opposite-sex."

* "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."

* "Same-sex couples receive the same tangible and intangible benefits from marriage that opposite-sex couples receive."

* "The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."

* "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."

Perhaps the most important political finding that Walker made was his conclusion that the fact that Prop 8 passed as a voter initiative was irrelevant as "fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."

It does not appear that Walker allowed for an immediate hold on his decision, which means that the defense must seek one from a higher court. Until then, gay couples could be legally allowed to marry in the state of California.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/0 ... 71018.html

The Few assume to be the deputies, but they are often only the despoilers of the Many.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

August 5, 2010
1:44 am
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greeney2
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What legal action has been going on in Florida, and New Jersey since the same issue was voted in? ( I think it was NJ) Our news said the appeal in the 9th courth will probably take about 19 months until it will be herd. At that point you can expect it to goto the Supreme Court.

The issue IMHO will be exactly what Arizona is fighting right now, the rights for each State to govern itself. This is why there is no National Law regarding marriage, becasue it is left to individual states. The issue will be the US Supreme Court interfering with States rights to govern. That was the basis for the Gore election appeals. The US Supreme Court would not overturn the decision of the Florida State Supreme Court, becasue States are granted the prevailing right to self govern, under the US Constitution. Arizona will be fighting the same concept, however it looks like instead of a landmark battle, they are amending parts of the Bill that the Feds took acception to.

This California issue will be pitting the gays rights against the rights of States to self govern and the California State Constitution to amend the State Constitution by a 50% vote, rather than the higher standard of 2/3rds. California State Supreme court has pervious precidents to show the marriage laws do not discriminate due to the laws regarding civil unions.

August 5, 2010
4:14 am
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Aquarian
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To me, the whole "state's rights" issue is bogus. It is used by each side as a catapulting rallying cry among supporters and activists, but really, if the federal government intervened on THEIR behalf or sided with them, they wouldn't be so dramatic.

However, EQUALITY is the issue here. And right now, gays and lesbians are in legal limbo in California...seeing as how the existing marriage laws would have to amended/added in order to include same-sex couples. But, there is also no ban...either way, like the court decision to strike certain provisions from the Arizona apartheid-styled law, it is a partial, but important victory.

The Few assume to be the deputies, but they are often only the despoilers of the Many.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

August 5, 2010
8:22 am
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greeney2
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It may be important to you but California has a lot more important issues to solve, that are a much bigger prioriety than gay marriages. In any case, One single Judge made a first ruling, and it has already been appealed, and that same Judge issued a stay order, stating Gays could not marry in the waiting period of the appeal. You have about 2 years to wait, for the next round.

Is Florada doing the same thing?

By the way, California has landmark cases, and decision of the State Supreme Court that gay have not been discriminated against in Marriage laws, becasue civil unions are accepted, and the State laws have supported certain benifit laws apply to same sex unions.

August 5, 2010
8:24 am
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bionic
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some stuff is federal..some stuff state..that's what the supreme court is all about..deciding that..weighing that out. Gay rights could be a constitional issue, anyway. Actually more basic than that...more "Declaration of Indepence" stuff.....
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (of course someone that wants to marry their dog could use this argument..that's what the supreme court is for)
I am for gay rights and gay marriage..for the record

As far as state rights go..all I can think is that there is a good chance pot is about to become legal in California and I am moving away..whimper..it figures

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

August 5, 2010
8:49 am
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greeney2
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I wonder becasue of the fact the Judge is Gay, he should have recused himself from this case, as being biased. When it comes to ethics, he may be the most ethical man on the face of the earth, but a legal standard is even the preception of a Conflict of Interest, should have eliminated him as the Judge.

August 5, 2010
10:35 am
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bionic
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You make a good point..BUT the same could be said of a heterosexual judge..that he is biased towards heterosexuals (yes..we live in that kinda "crrazy world" these days)

to me, it's a human rights issue..but I don't see homesexuality or bisexuality as perversion..I know there are people that do and they equate it with bestiality, pedophelia, and the like.
I do not.
When I look at homesexuality and bisexuality I see two adult people..with free choice..choosing to desire and maybe, fall for each other...nobody being oppressed or victimized by it. Tow happy people in a romance and maybe inlove and wanting to make a life together.

That's the important difference, to me.

I remember stories..and they are still out there..AIDS brought this to a head..stories of homosexauls, who'se Families..had basically..disinherited them.. them, having partners for YEARS..then dying young of AIDS..and those families that blew them off for YEARS... coming in and taking everything..their lifelong mate/partner having no rights under the law and such (unless there was a will)In some cases their life partner not even being allowed to go to their funeral. THAT is TRULY shameful, perverse behavior to me.

Jus tlike those damned (and not knowing it) individuals tha tlike to go to funeral of homosexuals with signs like "God hates fags"..""AIDS kils fags dead"

those are truly perverse souls, there (I wonder how many of them are pediphiles?)..they are evil..devils puppets..and they don't even know it about themselves..ironic
In the afterlife..the surprise will be on them.

also..to note..
I am for 'civil unions'..if that is what is called for..but I know that what will happen eventually is that young couples will opt to have a 'civil union'" instead of the religous rite of 'marriage' more and more and marriage will just..be gone..the word, at least.

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

August 5, 2010
8:08 pm
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greeney2
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You make a good point..BUT the same could be said of a heterosexual judge..that he is biased towards heterosexuals (yes..we live in that kinda "crrazy world" these days)

I don't agree with that because they could make a legal argument that the mindset of a gay judge would be one who may have encountered discrimination for being gay. Therefore any judgement could be swayed just enough and not purly on intrupetation of the Constitution.

Since this is a court decision to grant a right, this judge would aready be on a mindset of gays not being granted other rights, so that alone creates the appearance of a conflict of interrest. The Fox guarding the Henhouse, even if he honorable, is a conflict. In every ethics training in the USA, from government contractors to politics, avoiding even appearances even if you do not engage in conflicts of interrests are an issue.

August 5, 2010
11:53 pm
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The Pink Champagne must've been flowing in Frisco last night !

August 6, 2010
5:32 am
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"greeney2" wrote: I wonder becasue of the fact the Judge is Gay, he should have recused himself from this case, as being biased. When it comes to ethics, he may be the most ethical man on the face of the earth, but a legal standard is even the preception of a Conflict of Interest, should have eliminated him as the Judge.

I thought about that, but, then we'd have to say a heterosexual Judge should be recused as well.

I guess we need to make it mandatory for all judges to be bisexual. Laugh

Anyway, it's obviously no surprise that an outwardly gay judge decided in favor of gay marriage.

Aquarian, you may think it's "bogus" for states to have the right to govern themselves but it's the way this country was founded and built. It's crucial for this Republic to succeed, that 5 judges be given absolute power and ruling authority over all citizens in all matters. If the Supreme Court had 5 conservative judges instead of 5 liberal judges, me thinks you would be totally in favor of states being able to govern themselves.

Don't forget. If not for the states' ability to make their own state laws, there wouldn't be a single married gay couple in this entire nation.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

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