Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Judge refuses to dismiss Prop 8 challenge

From Susan Russell's blog An Inch at a Time

As reported by the L.A. Times:

A federal judge refused today to dismiss a constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, ruling the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage raised legal and factual issues that required a trial.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, ruling after nearly two hours of arguments in San Francisco, rejected contentions by Proposition 8's proponents that precedent and tradition clearly showed last November's ballot measure permissible under the U.S. Constitution.

Walker previously ordered the Proposition 8 campaign to disclose its internal memorandums and communications to gay rights lawyers. The campaign is appealing that order to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on 1st Amendment grounds.


Fred Schwartz said...

It may be a long road but each step moves us closer!

IT said...

I'm liking this judge. Interesting commentary from LawDork:

Importantly, Judge Walker struck a blow today to proponents’ claimed state interest of protecting “traditional” marriage, finding that “tradition alone is not enough.” He likewise dismissed proponents’ claim concern about California becoming a “marriage mill” if same-sex marriages were allowed in the state. Finally, Walked found that furthering male-female procreative protections was “suitable for a fuller development at trial.” The Proposition 8 proponents had asked the judge to rule that the Plaintiffs had failed to show that Proposition 8 is unrelated to a legitimate state interest, which he refused to do.

...... He noted that the Proposition 8 proponents’ failure to address the first two Carolene Products factors – immutability of the characteristic and political powerlessness of the affected group – impairs their argument against strict scrutiny. These factors, Walker stated, are thus “prime issues for trial.” .....

Judge Walker rejected the argument advanced by the proponents that same-sex marriage would lead to polygamous or incestuous relationships being subject to constitutional protection. Walker noted that whatever legitimate state interests support prohibitions on such conduct for opposite-sex relations still apply in the same-sex context.

Questions about whether animus animated Proposition 8 and the relevance of that claimed animus, Walker ruled, would benefit from a more complete record to be developed at trial because both issues remain in dispute.