A ruling on whether California's gay
marriage ban is unconstitutional is expected Wednesday, the AP
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker
will hand down his verdict on Proposition 8 in the afternoon, court
spokeswoman Lynn Fuller said.
The measure's November 2008 approval
struck a severe blow to the gay marriage movement, denying gay and
lesbian couples in the country's most populous state the right to
marry just months after the state's highest court had legalized the
About 18,000 gay and lesbian couples
married before voters narrowly reversed the ruling.
Walker heard 13-day's worth of
testimony in January and final arguments in June.
“We conclude this trial, your honor
where we began,” Ted Olson, who is representing two gay couples,
said during closing arguments. “This case is about marriage and
equality. The fundamental constitutional right to marry has been
taken away from the plaintiffs and tens of thousands of similarly
Olson and his team argued that
proponents of Proposition 8 had approved the measure out of animus
towards gay men and lesbians, stripping such couples of their
But Charles Cooper, who represents
Protect Marriage, the primary sponsor of Proposition 8, strongly
“Religions that condemn homosexual
conduct also teach love of gays and lesbians,” he said.
In his closing arguments, Cooper said
marriage was designed to discourage “irresponsible procreation,”
which does not apply to gay couples. Gay and lesbian couples, he
said, would only participate in responsible procreation because they
would require a third party.
Lawyers arguing in favor of the ban
have also asked Walker to revoke state recognition of the 18,000
marriages performed during the five month window when gay marriage
was legal. In a brief filed Tuesday, they asked Walker to stay his
decision if he overturns the ban.
“Same-sex marriages would be licensed
under a cloud of uncertainty, and should proponents succeed on
appeal, any such marriages would be invalid,” they wrote.
Both sides have already said they'll
appeal if Walker does not rule in their favor.
Gay rights advocates have previously
avoided federal courts because of the possibility that the case would
reach the Supreme Court, which they said remains too conservative.
But today's ruling is likely headed in