Proposition 8 overturned

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In a major victory for gay rights and basic fairness, a San Francisco federal judge just struck down Proposition 8, the hotly contested California gay-marriage ban passed in November 2008. In his decision, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that Prop 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. … Because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

As we reported this morning, this ruling doesn’t necessarily make gay marriage in California a sure thing; conservative groups are sure to appeal the decision, and many steps forward are accompanied by steps back. But this is hugely gratifying for anyone whose joy over the racial implications of Barack Obama’s election was undercut by gloom when sexual freedom took a hit the same day. (As a side note, click here to read our editorial from that week, which predicted Prop 8 would eventually be overturned.)