It took a gay Republican judge with libertarian leanings to issue from the bench, in a US District courthouse in San Francisco, one of the warmest testimonials to the married state since Erasmus. Last Wednesday Vaughan R. Walker struck down California’s ban on gay marriage, prompting ecstatic rejoicing among a mostly gay crowd outside the courthouse. His ruling was the first in the country to strike down a marriage ban on federal constitutional grounds.
Walker ruled that a California referendum known as Proposition 8, mostly paid for by the Mormons, passed in 2008 and declaring marriage in the state was legal only when transacted between men and women, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution because it discriminates against gay men and lesbians by denying them a right to marry the person of their choice, whereas heterosexual men and women may do so freely.
A final judicial verdict is years away, because appeals will now wend their way slowly through the system until they reach the US Supreme Court, six of whose nine current members are Catholics.
Same-sex marriage was hailed in Judge Walker’s courtroom as a social
stabilizer, an essentially conservative force. It seems, there are more
than than 107,000 same-sex couples living in California and in Judge
Walker’s approving resume of testimony, “are similar to married couples.
According to Census 2000, they live throughout the state, are racially
and ethnically diverse, have partners who depend upon one another
financially, and actively participate in California’s economy. Census
data also show that 18 per cent of same-sex couples in California are
raising children.” Mind you, California has 37 million people in it, so
200,000 or so people in same-sex stable relations is a pretty small drop
in the turkey baster.