Updated at the bottom with reaction from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

One small step for mankind today as Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware said it was okay that a gay jurist struck down Prop. 8 — the California law banning same-sex marriage.

The gay judge's ruling was challenged by bigots anti-same-sex-marriage forces who contended that former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker's 10-year same-sex relationship would benefit should marriage become legal in California.

But it seemed clear that federal judge had no plans to get married.

Lawyers for supporters of the gay marriage ban said Walker could have benefited financially from same-sex marriage (partner benefits, etc.) and should have recused himself or at least revealed his relationship before ruling.

Anyway, the overturning of Prop. 8 stands. And that's a good thing. But …

This doesn't mean that same sex partners can get their marriage on just yet.

Legal challenges are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a final decision isn't expected until next year.

Update: California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, no stranger to the cause, stated, in part:

Today's decision by Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware is another victory for the thousands of California couples, their families and friends who share the belief that the freedom to marry is a constitutional right for all Americans.

The frivolous appeals of those who are pushing for and defending government sanctioned discrimination have been unequivocally shut down in court today.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights' Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr:

This is a powerful ruling that makes clear that gay and lesbian judges are entitled to the same presumptions of fairness and impartiality as all other federal judges and that rejects the false and unreasonable assumptions and stereotypes that the Proposition 8 Proponents asserted in this deeply offensive motion. Other courts will look to this decision for many years to come. We are also pleased to see that Chief Judge Ware addressed the issue of equal protection in which all members of society have a stake.


First posted at 1:35 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14.

LA Weekly