August 5 2010, 11:09 AM
Both jubilation and disappointment are spreading across the nation after a judge struck down California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Judge Vaughn Walker concluded the measure was a violation of federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process that denied marriage to gays and lesbians for no rational reason (via the Los Angeles Times). As some Christian leaders blasted the ruling, near spontaneous celebrations broke out around the nation, including at the state Capitol in Denver. "Everyone has the right to choose to marry or not to marry, regardless of who you are," says Carlos Martinez, executive director of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, (via Fox 31). Bruce Hausknecht with the evangelical Colorado Springs-based group Focus on the Family, which funded efforts to pass Proposition 8 through its political arm, says the ruling exudes a "shocking notion that a single federal judge can nullify the votes of more than seven million California voters, binding Supreme Court precedent, and several millennia-worth of evidence that children need both a mom and a dad." Focus expects the judge's decision to be overturned on appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Boulder Congressman Jared Polis (pictured), who is openly gay, applauds the ruling, calling determining one's spouse a "basic human right," (via a news release). The San Francisco Chronicle explores the likely influence of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on the case, noting that in 1996 Kennedy concluded that Colorado's ban on local gay-rights ordinances had no constitutional grounding because it was based on a majority of voters' mere disapproval of gays and lesbians. "Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians," Walker writes in his ruling.