The optimistic view is, the Feds have thrown out Proposition 8 as unConstitutional!
The wry view is, David Boies finally sat on a historic legal case and didn't biff it.
The cynical view is, the Feds have affirmed that gay people have just as much right to hopelessly fuck up their lives as straight people have.
The really cynical view is, don't pull out the champagne yet, this is a looooong way from over.
The only question Judge Vaughn Walker (who was appointed by Ronald Reagan) has left to decide is will he suspend Prop 8 while the appeals process (which you know and I know is going to make it to the Supreme Court) or will he let it stand, meaning no gay marriages in California unil the whole thing is settled? (9th US Circuit Court Of Appeals, written arguments due by Aug 6.)
I love people talking about how Prop 8 was necessary to protect marriage. Marriage was collapsing long before gays started demanding marriage equality. I'm a romantic, I see marriage as a romantic gesture, as an expression of love. Most of the world does not, however. People love each other without marriage all the time, and people marry for reasons other than love all the time (money, inheritance, politics, sex, green card, etc. etc. etc.). Marriage is primarily about property, about power of attorney and transfer of assets. Marriage is only about love if the people getting married make it about love. So here's a bunch of people who want to make marriage about love, and being told they can't because marriage is a sacred thing between a man and a woman and must be protected from a group of people who uphold its symbolism and values better than its defenders.
Oh, and it helps reinforce responsible child rearing.
The anti-gay marriage peckerheads have to contest. They have no choice. They know this is their last hope to preserve their discrimination and bigotry. When California originally banned gay marriage, it was something like 60% to 40%. Eight years later, Prop 8 passed by 52% to 48%. That is a HUGE swing in public support in a relatively short time. Clearly, had this happened a couple of years later, there wouldn't have been enough support (hell, there almost wasn't enough this time. If it weren't for the carpetbagging Mormons and their funds (it was the most expensive campaign on a social issue in US history), Prop 8 would have died at the voting booths. Why oh WHY can't Christians act like Christians?!?).
The ruling is 136 pages. Okay, the body is on the table, here's the postmortem -- Walker's ruling hinges on a one-two punch of saying Prop 8 violates the Constitution's due process and equal protection clauses and saying the supporters of Prop 8 failed "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 plaintiffs in the case, a gay couple, brought out 18 witnesses that hammered everything from religious views of gays to shrinks who testified about the fitness of gay couples as parents. They went General Sherman Meets Atlanta, and they dealt nothing but aces.
The other side? Here's where it gets interesting. The defense only called two witnesses, leaving all the heavy lifting to the ironically named Protect Marriage. Why them? Because the original two defendants in the case, California AG Jerry Brown and California Governor Arnold
Conan The Kennedy In-Law, bailed on the case faster than you could say, "Up against the wall, motherfuckers!" Protect Marriage whistled past the graveyard, though, saying they didn't need more witnesses because they had Supreme Court precedent on their side. Yeah. State's rights used to have that, too. Hint hint.
At this point, I'm no longer worried. Even if, by some quirk, the ruling from the Supes upholds Prop 8, by then, enough people will see it is bunk that it'll be repealed in their next election. Gay marriage is presently legal in Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. (I also find it funny that states like Nevada say they will not acknowledge any gay marriage from another state as valid. Basically, they have just legalized bigamy for gays but not straights.) By the time this is finally settled, there will be enough gay marriages and gay couples with kids that it will be practical, empirical, and irrefutable evidence that these fears are bullshit.
Keep up the good fight, everybody!