Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled Proposition 8 is unconstitutional “under both the due-process and equal-protection” clauses. His verdict comes in response to a lawsuit brought by two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco seeking to invalidate the law as an unlawful infringement on the civil rights of gay men and lesbians.
Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriages in California five months after the state Supreme Court legalized them, passed with 52 percent of the vote in November 2008 following the most expensive campaign on a social issue in U.S. history. Attorneys on both sides have said an appeal was certain if Walker did not rule in their favor. The case would go first to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals then the Supreme Court if the high court justices agree to review it.
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A San Francisco federal judge tomorrow will issue a much anticipated ruling in the Proposition 8 trial, a decision that will be a first step in a long legal process to decide whether California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the federal constitution.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will release the ruling without holding a hearing, typical in deciding most cases. Bay Area federal court officials announced the scheduled release of the much-anticipated decision in a brief order today.
Walker in January conducted an unprecedented trial in January in the challenge to Proposition 8, which restored the state’s ban on the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. He heard closing arguments in June, and now will decide the outcome of a lawsuit that maintains the same-sex marriage ban violates the equal protection rights of gay and lesbian couples.
Either way the judge decides, the losing side is expected to appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Most legal experts expect the case to ultimately be decided in the U.S. Supreme Court.