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article imageAnti-gay campaigners say derecognise existing same-sex marriages

By Andrew John     Jun 16, 2010 in Lifestyle
Sponsors of “traditional marriage” in California want recognition of the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in the state in 2008 to be revoked.
The Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage in May 2008, but citizens voted to end that in November that year when they voted in favour of the controversial Proposition 8.
Chief US District Judge Vaugn Walker has been hearing evidence from both sides in what has become the “trial of Proposition 8”, and is expected to rule on a request by two same-sex couples to have the ban on gay marriage removed permanently.
It has amounted to “nation’s first federal court trial on the constitutionality of a law defining marriage as a male–female union,” according to a report in SFGate.com, the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle.
The lawyers fighting on behalf of the two couples say the ban on same-sex marriage violates the constitutional guarantee of equality … and must be struck down “regardless of its level of public support.”
Long closing arguments have been held during this week, and Walker’s ruling is not expected for several weeks.
However, says the paper, it’s a ruling that “will be the first round in a battle likely to reach the US Supreme Court within two years.”
The paper goes on: “Walker sent both sides a list of questions to be addressed in the arguments and let them respond initially in writing. In their answers Tuesday, Prop. 8’s sponsors argued that the state has numerous legitimate reasons to define marriage traditionally – to guard children’s welfare, maintain social stability, and honor voters’ moral and religious views.”
Private moral beliefs
But the lead attorney for the two couples, Theodore Olson, says the measure is “an attempt to enforce private moral beliefs about a disfavored minority.”
The “Yes on 8” campaign that has been supported by religious organisations, mainly Roman Catholics and Mormons, had claimed that gay relationships are immoral and, he said, they had exploited fears that gays and lesbians are a menace to children.
The report concludes: “Gay rights advocates argued that the unequal treatment of couples who married at different times was one of many reasons to overturn the ballot measure. But [the lawyer for the Protect Marriage campaign, Charles] Cooper said Tuesday there was a better way to treat both groups of couples equally while respecting the people’s will – ‘sustaining Proposition 8 by giving it retrospective effect,’ that is, deny state recognition to the pre-election marriages.”
More about Propositon eight, Same-sex marriage, California supreme court, Prop, Lesbian
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