Judge Vaughn Walker has today made an historic ruling in California when he said that Proposition 8 which overturned the State allowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Not just in California State constitution but under the US Constitution. He said in his ruling that it violated the equal protection clause.
Following a lengthy court case brought by two couples. Against Prop 8 there was witnesses stating that allowing gay marriage would help the mental health of gays and lesbians, give more legal protection to their children, reduce discrimination and give gay couples more political power.
Those in support called just two witnesses who argued that retaining the ban would protect children and traditional marriage. One of them even cited unfounded figures that gays were twelve times more likely to abuse children. When one study in the US by the Child Welfare Information Gateway actually says. "A child's risk of being molested by his or her relatives' heterosexual partner is over one hundred times greater than by someone who might be identifiable as being homosexual." Indeed in that same study of 269 cases of child sex abuse, only two offenders where found to be gay or lesbian. Which actually means it is 100 times more likely that child abuse is carried out by someone identifying as a heterosexual.
I'm glad that the myths being purported as science were seen through by the judge who made his judgement. The scaremongering of the Prop 8 supporters has been stopped dead, and now for the first time they have been ruled unconstitutional, although this being the US I expect it will on to a higher level of the legislature.
But in the meantime it is right to celebrate this breakthrough as Lori Jean chief executive of the Gay and Lesbian Centre said:
"Today’s historic decision by the federal district court is clearly a milestone victory for all gay, lesbian and bisexual Californians, our families and our friends. But much more than that, it is a resounding affirmation of fundamental American ideals and core principles of the US Constitution.
"Almost from our very beginnings, one of the exceptional hallmarks of our nation’s progress has been the expansion of our concepts of liberty and justice to include those of us who were not initially considered fully equal, or who were perhaps not even considered at all.
"Although it has often taken years of struggle, we have seen profound advancements in the recognition of the full citizenship of women, of African-Americans, and of countless other ethnic, religious and social minorities.
"These changes have come about through a continually broadening public understanding of who we all are, and of the common bonds and aspirations that we all share."
The Judge said in his ruling:
"The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples."
and also that California "has no interest in differentiating between same-sex and opposite-sex unions."
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the ruling saying:
"For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves," the governor said. "At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity."
As of today following Judge Walker's ruling city and state officials in California are to stop imposing the ban on same sex marriage.