A federal judge Wednesday struck down
Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, as unconstitutional.
Gay activists waited patiently outside
San Francisco's federal courthouse for Chief
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's long-awaited ruling in Perry
“Today's federal ruling strikes down
a cruel and unfair constitutional amendment that should never have
become law and affirms that the freedom to marry belongs to every
American,” Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry,
“As the first court to strike down
race restrictions on marriage said in 1948, 'the essence of the right
to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one's
choice.' There is no gay exception in the Constitution to personal
choice and the right to marry, and there is no good reason to
continue excluding same-sex couples from marriage.”
The measure was approved in November
2008 after the state's Supreme Court had legalized the institution.
Before voters narrowly reversed the ruling, about 18,000 gay and
lesbian couples married.
The American Foundation for Equal
Rights (AFER) had filed the challenge on behalf of two gay couples
who had been denied the right to marry because of Proposition 8.
Conservative lawyer Ted Olson, who
served as Solicitor General in the Bush administration, and David
Boies argued the case before Walker over a 13-day trial in January.
Walker heard closing arguments in June.
Opponents of gay marriage say they'll
appeal the ruling.