California's marriage equality ban overturned. Full ruling (pdf, prepare for delays)
Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.
Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as "the right to same-sex marriage" would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy —— namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.
Proposition 8 places the force of law behind stigmas against gays and lesbians, including: gays and lesbians do not have intimate relationships similar to heterosexual couples; gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals; and gay and lesbian relationships do not deserve the full recognition of society.
Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage & marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the U.S. The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld.
Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.
Updating as I go... judge is
For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity.Now that he's a term limited lame duck he can speak his mind; no one who spent that much time in bodybuilding and acting can be totally homophobic...
Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people.
Judge seems to have been very thorough in the ruling (much like Varnum-Brien, methinks)
HuffPo defines the significance: "The judgment was the first offered by a federal court with respect to laws banning gay marriage at the state level and it promises to have massive reverberations across the political and judicial landscape. The decision is expected to now head to the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court (also based in San Francisco) for appeal and from there to the Supreme Court..."
Don't shudder at that thought yet (and Kagan will happen tomorrow, there's 61 votes to block filibuster): "Appellate courts cannot just substitute their views for that of the trial court when there is an evidentiary record, findings of fact and conclusions of law like this, where it is much easier to do so if it has been decided by preliminary injunctive relief, motions or on the pleadings. Walker can really put this in a unique posture with how he frames his findings of fact and conclusions of law; and I expect him to do just that. Walker is very detailed and very smart and crafty. He will lock in and protect his decision to every extent he can, and trust me Walker is very good at this. "
Kos diarist freelancewoman: "According to CNN, Judge Walker has issued a stay on his ruling -- in other words, both sides will now argue for and against whether same sex marriages can again be held in California, before appeals are decided."
Very late update: At Kos a dissection of the ruling.