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A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a California ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the Proposition 8 ballot initiative was unconstitutional.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaugh Walker, one of three openly gay federal judges in the country, gave opponents of the controversial Proposition 8 ballot a major victory.
Despite the favorable ruling for same-sex couples, gay marriage will not be allowed to resume. That’s because the judge said he wants to decide whether his order should be suspended while the proponents pursue their appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The judge ordered both sides to submit written arguments by Aug. 6 on the issue.
Supporters argued the ban was necessary to safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing. California voters passed the ban as Proposition 8 in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
“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,” the judge wrote in a 136-page ruling that laid out in precise detail why the ban does not pass constitutional muster.
The judge found that the gay marriage ban violates the Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses.
“Because Proposition 8 disadvantages gays and lesbians without any rational justification, Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” the judge ruled.
Both sides previously said an appeal was certain if Walker did not rule in their favor. The case would go first to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, then the Supreme Court if the high court justices agree to review it.
“In America, we should uphold and respect the right of people to make policy changes through the democratic process, especially changes that do nothing more than uphold the definition of marriage that has existed since the founding of this country and beyond,” said Jim Campbell, a lawyer on the defense team.
Walker heard 13 days of testimony and arguments since January during the first trial in federal court to examine if states can prohibit gays from getting married.
The verdict was the second in a federal gay marriage case to come down in recent weeks. A federal judge in Massachusetts decided last month the state’s legally married gay couples had been wrongly denied the federal financial benefits of marriage because of a law preventing the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex unions.
The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a record 40.8 million in May as the jobless rate hovered near a 27-year high, the government reported yesterday.
Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program subsidies for food purchases jumped 19 percent from a year earlier and increased 0.9 percent from April, the US Department of Agriculture said in a statement.
The death toll in Kashmir rose to 48 Thursday after two more people were killed when paramilitary forces opened fire on demonstrators angry about decades of Indian rule over the region.
Kashmir has been rocked by violent protests for nearly two months with demonstrators hurling rocks at paramilitary soldiers and setting government buildings and vehicles ablaze.
When measured by the number of criminal defendants charged with federal crimes by U.S. attorneys, the top five U.S. judicial districts for fiscal 2009 were all on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In fact, these five judicial districts are the only five on the U.S.-Mexico border, covering its entire expanse from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. There are a total of 94 federal judicial districts.
After two months of wrangling, Massachusetts High School student Sean Harrington finally succeeded in getting his school to allow the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited by students in class.
Principal Charles Skidmore said that the old policy has now been changed. “All principals in the district must ensure that the Pledge of Allegiance is said every school day in all classrooms,” he wrote.
The federal government is spending $62 million on a tunnel to nowhere in Pittsburgh, Pa., $89,000 on a sidewalk that leads to a ditch in Boynton, Okla., and almost $200,000 to study voter perception of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
That’s according to a report released on Tuesday by the offices of Republican Senators John McCain and Tom Coburn.
A transexual named Jan Krause, who waged a five-year spying campaign against her neighbors, has been spared jail time after a judge agreed it would be too dangerous for her.
Krause conducted a ‘cold war’ of surveilance against her victims, posting recordings of them on YouTube, crashing into their cars and erecting a roof-mounted device which emitted a high-pitched whine in their direction.
A new poll by CNN delivered some bad news on President Barack Obama’s apparent birthday: six out of ten American citizens are uncertain that he was even born in the United States.
The question was: “Do you think Barack Obama was definitely born in the United States, probably born in the United States, probably born in another country, or definitely born in another country?”