Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Federal Judge Gives Gay Marriage Supporters Hope

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 12:15 PM

A judge overseeing the federal challenge to Proposition 8 has given gay marriage supporters some hope. According to the Chron, federal Judge Vaughn Walker wants to take testimony and review evidence of whether gays and lesbians have been the victims of discrimination over the years and whether the supporters of Prop. 8 - California's anti-gay marriage law - were motivated by antagonism against homosexuals. Because it should be relatively easy for gay marriage supporters to prove both of those issues, the judge's move will kill an effort by opponents of same-sex marriage to get the case dismissed right away and provides hope that Walker might be sympathetic to the gay marriage cause.

Walker, however, also indicated that he plans to turn down a request by a lesbian couple from Berkeley, who are the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit, to set aside Prop. 8 while the case moves through the courts. Walker appears to agree with state Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has argued that Prop. 8 should remain in effect to lessen uncertainty over who can marry and who can't. But in his plan to take a deeper look at Prop. 8, Walker also indicated that he intends to examine the anti-gay marriage group's contention that the law doesn't discriminate because it still allows gays and lesbians to marry - just someone of the opposite sex. And according to the Chron, the judge said anti-gay marriage groups may need to prove their contention that children are best raised by a mother and father and that allowing gay marriage "destabilizes opposite-sex marriage."

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