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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

U.S. Court Overturns Calif. Same-Sex Marriage Ban - NYTimes.com

U.S. Court Overturns Calif. Same-Sex Marriage Ban - NYTimes.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Saying that it unfairly targets gay men and women, a federal judge in San Francisco struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage on Wednesday, handing supporters of such unions a temporary victory in a legal battle that seems all but certain to be settled by the Supreme Court.

Wednesday’s decision is just the latest chapter of what is expected to be a long legal battle over the ban – Proposition 8, which was passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote.

Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who heard the case without a jury, immediately stayed his decision pending appeals by proponents of Proposition 8, who confidently predicted that higher courts would be less accommodating than Judge Walker. But on Wednesday, at least, the winds seemed to be at the back of those who feel that marriage is not, as the voters of California and many other states feel, solely the province of a man and a woman.

"Proposition 8 cannot survive any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause," wrote Mr. Walker. "Excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest."

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