A federal judge in San Francisco ruled on Wednesday that a ballot initiative passed by California voters defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.
U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled Proposition 8 “unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.”
The ruling is a victory for Burbank residents Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, who with a lesbian couple, are challenging Proposition 8.
Zarrillo and Katami could not be immediately reached.
Within the 136-page decision, the court held that the ban failed “to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a of a marriage license.”
Following the line of questioning Walker presented during the closing arguments back in June, the court ruled that “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.”
Walker’s decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A Los Angeles-based group funding the litigation hired former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a conservative, and noted litigator David Boies, who squared off against Olson in Bush vs. Gore, to represent the two couples.
The California Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 that gays and lesbians were entitled to marry under the state constitution in an historic ruling in May 2008. Voters passed Proposition 8 six months later, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.