Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
In an exhaustively researched, well-reasoned, and thoroughly sourced 138-page opinion, Judge Walker found that the proponents of Proposition 8 had utterly failed to make even an elementary case for their position. They could not even demonstrate a rational basis for their claims, the lowest possible standard of review in federal jurisprudence:
Proposition 8 cannot withstand any level of scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause, as excluding same-sex couples from marriage is simply not rationally related to a legitimate state interest.
Compare Judge Walker's ruling to some of the (completely and utterly predictable) reactions of opponents of marriage equality:
This is a travesty of justice. The majority of Californians -- and two-thirds of black voters in California -- have just had their core civil right to vote for marriage stripped from them by an openly gay federal judge who has misread history and the Constitution to impose his San Francisco views on the American people.
--"Bishop" Harry Jackson, anti-gay religious leader
Funny, isn't it, how it's just fine for the bigoted voters of California to impose their views on Californians who don't share them (and the rest of the country), but when someone stands up for the rule of law (one of the most fundamental principles of which is that rights are not subject to popular vote), that's despicable.
Judge Walker's ruling overturning Prop 8 is an outrageous disrespect for our Constitution and for the majority of people of the United States who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife. In every state of the union from California to Maine to Georgia, where the people have had a chance to vote they've affirmed that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
--Newt Gingrich, serial adulterer
Apparently Mr. Gingrich was too busy serving his ex-wives with divorce papers so he could marry his then-mistresses to have noticed that, as I just noted above, rights are not subject to popular vote. And I fail to see how upholding the Constitution is either outrageous or disrespectful of it. What a majority of people believe about marriage is not relevant--nor does their belief rise to the level of fact.
Judge Walker’s ruling raises a shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than 7 million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad.
--Focus on the Family, anti-gay propaganda group
The notion that the Constitution trumps even the will of a majority of voters is hardly shocking. It is certainly not novel. See, e.g., the Supreme Court's decisions in Loving v. Virginia, Romer v. Evans, Griswold v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, and dozens more precedents that I could quote. As to the "evidence" that "children need both a mom and a dad," Judge Walker quite handily disposed of that hypothesis as utter crap:
The gender of a child’s parent is not a factor in a child’s adjustment. The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent. Children raised by gay or lesbian parents are as likely as children raised by heterosexual parents to be healthy, successful and well-adjusted. The research supporting this conclusion is accepted beyond serious debate in the field of developmental psychology.
--Findings of Fact, No. 70, p. 95 in Judge Walker's ruling--supported, incidentally, by testimony from one of the proponents' own "expert" witnesses.
As evidenced by the bleatings of its opponents, the ruling in the Proposition 8 case demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt that the only foundation for the rampant anti-gay discrimination and bigotry is the irrational hatred and fear of people who do not, cannot, or will not understand that they in fact have nothing to fear. It offers yet another piece of evidence in support of the definition of "evil" as "militant ignorance."