Proposition 8 has been overturned by California federal district judge Vaughn Walker in a long, 130-page decision. Proposition 8 was enacted in California two years ago by popular vote, defining marriage as specifically being between one man and one woman. The new law was immediately challenged by two same-sex couples in federal court. It marks the the first time a federal judge has ruled on the constitutionality of same sex marriage bans.
Ruling that the California law violates equal protection under the U.S. Constitution's 14th amendment, the district judge has moved this test case a step closer to possible eventual consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The case will likely go to appeal, and the coalition of religious and conservative groups had yesterday filed a brief asking Walker to stay the decision should he rule to overturn Prop 8. They argued that if decision is ultimately overturned ceremonies performed during this time would be invalidated, according to the group. However, Walker agreed to the stay for only a few days while the issue is studied.
In his ruling, Walker asserted that Proposition 8 enshrines within California’s state constitution the superiority of heterosexual couples over same-sex couples. This would violate the equal protection guarantees under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th amendment.