Federal Judge Annuls California Gay Marriage Ban

Posted August 4, 2010 in Your Family & The Law by Arthur Buono

Same-sex couples can now get married in California once more. Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban enacted by California voters in 2008, went down this afternoon. The law’s supporters say they will appeal. The last word likely will come from the U.S. Supreme Court.


  • California’s gay marriage ban violates federal equal protection right
  • Gay marriage bans taking hits this summer
  • Issue likely to reach Supreme Court for final decision


Ban Enacted by Voters Violates Constitution

Courts in California were among the first in the nation to sanction marriages between persons of the same sex. The ceremonies came to a halt when California voters put the ban in place via Prop 8. Advocates of same-sex marriage filed lawsuits against Prop 8. Neither the California Governor nor its Attorney General appeared in this case to defend the law.

This summer has brought a flurry of decisions about same-sex marriages. A federal judge in Massachusetts recently struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In July the Governor of Hawaii vetoed a bill passed by state lawmakers permitting civil unions between persons of the same sex. Also last month the District of Columbia’s civil union law survived a court fight to place a referendum before voters to repeal it.

The states traditionally have made marriage laws. Those in favor of gay marriage claim the bans violate the federal constitution. The judge today said California had no rational basis to ban same-sex marriages. California’s Attorney General, Jerry Brown, agreed. He said the ban violated the Equal Protection clause. The ruling could have an impact on other laws and practices affecting gays and lesbians.

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