In what could be the precursor to a long-awaited battle before the United States Supreme Court, a federal court in California today struck down as unconstitutional the controversial, voter-approved "Proposition 8" law banning same sex marriage. Analysts of the 136-page opinion have suggested that it is so carefully and thoughtfully drafted that the Highest Court in the Land may find itself up against the wall should it seek to overturn its findings and conclusions in the future.
The federal court judge found that Prop 8 essentially required discrimination in its implementation on the basis of both sex and sexual orientation with an enforced notion that "gays and lesbians are not as good as heterosexuals." From a constitutional law standpoint, the law did not live up to even the most lenient "rational basis" test (i.e., the law is not rationally related to a legitimate state intertest) to pass muster under the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
In what can only be described as the sort of monumental rhetoric that will likely be remembered for years to come, the opinion concluded in response to supporters of the law who argued that same-sex marriage violates the fundamental notions of marriage and procreation, "Tradition alone, however, cannot form the rational basis for a law."
Interesting, however, is that the same federal judge immediately stayed his own decision, pending appeals by supporters of the now unconstitutional law.
We will continue to update this blog as details unfold. For an earlier blog entry on this topic, click here and here.