Federal Judge Strikes Down California Prop. 8

Held:

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. 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.

Appeal to follow. Supreme Court likely before the dust settles. Pre-decisional reports questioned if Prop 8 would be enjoined, or if the ruling might be stayed pending appeal. That doesn't seem to have worked:

REMEDIES

Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result, see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.

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 anddefendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Even if the decision doesn't stay itself, the Court of Appeals has the power to stay its effects pending appeal if only the supporters of Prop 8 can find an irreparable harm from its absence. It's a little hard for me to see how they would do that.

(Alternate, equally slashdotted, direct download of decision here or from the official court website. If anyone has a better-working link, please post it in the comments.)

Update: The NYT says,

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 …

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