Judge rules Prop. 8 unconstitutional and Obama performs political acrobatics
Next Thursday (Aug 19) I’m planning to make my way to City Hall in San Francisco to hopefully cheer on same sex couples as they say apply for marriage licenses.
That is provided the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (a federal court that reviews decisions and can change outcomes of decisions of district courts) doesn’t intervene and stay District Judge Vaughn Walker’s August 4 ruling declaring California’s 2008 gay-marriage ban unconstitutional.
Same-sex marriage in California is set become legal at 5:00 p.m. PDT on August 18th, 2010. It’s about time, I say.
Of course, ProtectMarriage.com, the group that had organized the Prop 8 campaign, has already appealed Judge Walker’s ruling on the 2008 voter-approved law. They’ve also appealed his Thursday (August 12) ruling that lifts a stay on the ban next week. But really, it doesn’t seem like gay marriage opponents have much of a leg to stand on in this case.
Especially, because the actual defendants of the lawsuit brought by two same sex couples in 2008 – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat -refused to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling. Instead, both issued separate statements this week calling for the ruling to be put into effect immediately.
In his Thursday ruling refusing to extend a stay on the marriage ban, Judge Walker indicated that since the state hadn’t opposed his decision, there’s a possibility that there may be no appellate hearing. He suggested that without the state government’s support, legal advocates of the ban didn’t meet the legal standards to appeal their case. More so because they hadn’t been able to show that same sex marriage would do them and society irreparable harm.
Looks like the case is heading toward the Supreme Court where a pro-marriage decision could reverse laws prohibiting gay marriage in 45 states. Or not. Either way, right now, it’s advantage gay rights camp.
Yet, amid all this positive news, President Obama’s continuing opposition to same-sex marriage, casts a perplexing shadow. Here’s White House adviser David Axelrod on MSNBC:
The President does oppose same-sex marriage, but he supports equality for gay and lesbian couples, and benefits and other issues, and that has been effectuated in federal agencies under his control.
Axelrod goes on to say that Obama has always opposed Prop 8 because he felt it was “divisive and mean-spirited.”
Now wait a minute, so Obama is against gay marriage, but also against any legislation that bans gay marriage?
I’m still trying to figure this one out.
Photo by Flickr user kathleenjoyful
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