Judge Walker’s Ruling Stands

Today, Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled that Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 decision (declaring Proposition 8 “unconstitutional”) is still valid even though Judge Walker is gay.

Proponents of Prop 8 motioned to have Walker’s monumental decision vacated because the judge was a gay man ruling to allow same-sex marriage in the state of California (for the second time).

The short ‘n sweet summary of this latest ruling: Who cares if he’s gay or not?! His ruling is judicially sound.

 

Below is a section of Judge Ware’s ruling:

After considering the Oppositions to the Motion and the governing law, as  discussed below, the Court finds that neither recusal nor disqualification was  required based on the asserted grounds. The sole fact that a federal judge  shares the same circumstances or personal characteristics with other members of  the general public, and that the judge could be affected by the outcome of a  proceeding in the same way that other members of the general public would be  affected, is not a basis for either recusal or disqualification under Section  455(b)(4). Further, under Section 455(a), it is not reasonable to presume that a  judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality  of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the  proceedings. Accordingly, the Motion to Vacate Judgment on the sole ground of  Judge Walker’s same-sex relationship is DENIED.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is still considering whether Walker’s ruling is constitutional. My two cents: same-sex marriage will be legal in California (again) before 2012.

Judicially and even in modern-day American society, legal prohibitions against same-sex marriage are unsound, discriminatory and rely on faulty/discredited studies claiming homosexuals “hurt” children or somehow “destroy the fabric of society.” It’s 2011. It’s time to move forward. The constitution gives EVERYONE equal protection under the law.

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It’s A Non-Issue

Gallup now reports that 70 percent of young people (18-34) and a majority (53 percent) of Americans in general support equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. However, only 39 percent of people aged 55 and older are in support.

Most young people personally know or are friends with gays and lesbians. As opposed to the older generation, we see who “the homosexual” really is: a doctor, lawyer, parent, sibling, writer, elected official, police officer, business owner or artist.

Even young Evangelicals increasingly consider same-sex marriage a non-issue, according to a 2008 study  conducted by the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Just because someone accepts the legality of an issue or law does not necessarily mean they approve/affirm that issue or law on moral grounds. That’s the beauty of Separation of Church and State.

Rather than seeing negative stereotypes or misconceptions (perverts, mentally ill, etc.), young people understand that gays and lesbians are every bit as human as their straight counterparts.

Modern stereotypes of gays and lesbians are rather complimentary, in my opinion; Gay men are clean-cut, artistic Apple computer owners and lesbians are eclectic, charismatic coffee shop owners (the stereotype appears to be confirmed in independent coffee shops with gay men on their on MacBooks or iPhones…).

It is only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal throughout the nation. The only obstacle to equal rights is dogmatic adherence to outdated, discriminatory values (only 28% of self-identified conservatives support legal same-sex marriage).

Young people get it. When will Capitol Hill and 45 state legislatures?

Gallup results by age group

 

Walker, Legal Ranger

Federal Judge Vaughn Walker – who has the distinction of being the judge to make the monumental and historic decision that overturned California’s Proposition 8 – wrote a well-thought out and articulated analysis explaining why not allowing two people of the same sex to legally marry is unconstitutional and regressive.

From the anthropological and evolutionary roots of marriage to the discriminatory laws and attitudes that hold back human progress, Judge Walker left no holds barred in his stunning and precise analysis. One of the many notable sections include the following:

The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The evidence did not show any historical purpose for excluding same-sex couples from marriage, as states have never required spouses to have an ability or willingness to procreate in order to marry. FF 21. Rather, the exclusion exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed.

The right to marry has been historically and remains the right to choose a spouse and, with mutual consent, join together and form a household. FF 19-20, 34-35. Race and gender restrictions shaped marriage during eras of race and gender inequality, but such restrictions were never part of the historical core of the institution of marriage. FF 33. Today, gender is not relevant to the state in determining spouses’ obligations to each other and to their dependents. Relative gender composition aside, same-sex couples are situated identically to opposite-sex couples in terms of their ability to perform the rights and obligations of marriage under California law. FF 48. Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.

Whether social conservatives admit it or not, human society is always evolving and changing with new ideas and breakthroughs as well as through human evolution itself. To ignore this simple fact in favor of antiquated views and prejudice is ignorant and contrary to the American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thankfully, we’re closer to equality for all in this country.

Prop 8 Overturned!

Prop 8 has been overturned. Today, California joins Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington DC in recognizing same-sex marriages. Regardless of how you feel about gay marriage, this is a great day for the Constitution.

Since all Americans receive – or are supposed to receive – equal treatment and protection under the law, logic would dictate that this also includes two people who are in a committed relationship.

America is a beacon of liberty and equality for all who are privileged to live here. If you’re not depriving anyone of their life, liberty or pursuit of happiness, you are encouraged to make your own life, live free and pursue your own happiness.

Just because one group – or groups – of people get together and declare another inferior does not in any way mean they then have the right to legally enslave them. Thomas Jefferson warned against this: he called it the “tyranny of the majority” in which the majority decides and dictates the rights of the minority.

In November 2008, California voters – many mislead through deceptive television ads and misinformation through “family” groups as well as the Mormon Church’s finances – approved Proposition 8 by a narrow 52%, which overturned the state court’s decision five months earlier allowing same-sex marriage in the Golden State.

21 months and two court challenges later, gay couples can now once again marry if they decide to.

Opposition has already planned to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court, whom I expect will uphold the decision. Should the US Supreme Court pick up the case (doubtful), they will either uphold today’s decision or maintain the ban. In that situation, I expect them to agree that homosexuals do in fact have the right to marry. This would strike down same-sex marriage bans in 41 states and overturn President Clinton’s “Defense of Marriage Act,” making the United States the 11th nation on the planet to legalize same-sex marriage.

Canada, Argentina, South Africa, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and Sweden all recognize same-sex marriage. Isn’t it time that the pioneering and forward-thinking United States joined?