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Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Reach of the Majority

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 04: Spencer Jones (R) looks on as his husband Tyler Barrick (C) cries during a rally to celebrate the ruling to overturn Proposition 8 August 4, 2010 in San Francisco, California. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker announced his ruling to overturn Proposition 8 finding it unconstitutional. The voter approved measure denies same-sex couples the right to marry in the State of California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

From Judge Walker's ruling, page 24 (pdf):
For the reasons stated in the sections that follow, the evidence presented at trial fatally undermines the premises underlying proponents’ proffered rationales for Proposition 8. An initiative measure adopted by the voters deserves great respect. The considered views and opinions of even the most highly qualified scholars and experts seldom outweigh the determinations of the voters. When challenged, however, the voters’ determinations must find at least some support in evidence. This is especially so when those determinations enact into law classifications of persons. Conjecture, speculation and fears are not enough. Still less will the moral disapprobation of a group or class of citizens suffice, no matter how large the majority that shares that view. The evidence demonstrated beyond serious reckoning that Proposition 8 finds support only in such disapproval. As such, Proposition 8 is beyond the constitutional reach of the voters or their representatives.
Opponents of gay-marriage protest a federal judge's ruling on California's gay-marriage ban in San Francisco on August 4, 2010. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker overturned California's Proposition 8 in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights.   UPI/Terry Schmitt Photo via Newscom

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