Goodbye (for the Moment) to Prop 8
Today, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker found that Proposition 8, the November 2008 ballot initiative that took away marriage rights from gay and lesbian couples, is unconstitutional. At the heart of his decision is the belief that Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient governmental interest.
Aside from the obvious victory for LGBTQ and marriage equality movements that this decision brings, I am also especially interested in the part of the decision that states 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.” (Quoting a 1943 U.S. Supreme Court case). This sets a precedent that disallows the majority from voting away the rights of minority groups.
However, don't make your California wedding plans yet. The case is almost certain to go to the United States Supreme Court and it's unclear if a stay will be ordered in the meantime.
No matter the eventual fate of Prop 8, this case and its decision clearly and legally build the case for marriage equality and for the protection of Equal Protection. Both things we can celebrate. There are celebrations of the Decision across California tonight. Read more about this historical decision here.