US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled that California's voter-approved gay marriage ban violates the US constitution. In his 136-page decision, the judge ruled that Proposition 8 violates both the due-process and equal-protection clauses of the constitution. He wrote:
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.
Almost two years ago, 52 percent of voters chose to change the state's constitution to explicitly limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. Now the state's gay couples will have a chance to marry, like the 18,000 same-sex couples who tied the knot while it was briefly legal in California. If the ruling gets held up on appeal, it will likely invalidate gay marriage bans across the country.
Update: Couples tried to get marriage licenses at San Francisco's city hall until a stay was granted.