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Gay Marriage Could Resume Next Week in California

Published on 08/13/2010 -

The federal judge who historically lifted Proposition 8 has ruled that California gay marriages can resume as early as next week.

On August 4th, US District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker ruled the Proposition 8 initiative that denied same-sex couples the right to marry was unconstitutional. However, at the same time he also instituted a stay, which prevented his ruling from immediately taking effect.

Judge Walker has now issued an order that will lift the stay and permit California gay marriage next Wednesday at 5pm.

Walker instituted the stay to allow proponents of Prop 8 enough time to appeal his decision. In fact, appellate judges are currently weighing the merits of the case to determine whether they will accept an appeal.

Legal experts predict that the ruling will be appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Those in favor of the ruling see it as a civil rights victory in which an unjust law against an unpopular minority is being rightly overturned. Those against the ruling see it as an affront to traditional marriage.

If the decision is appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, the ultimate decision will likely depend on Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The conservative block of the Court, which includes Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts, is expected to vote against gay marriage.

On the other hand, Justices Stephen Bryer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan will likely vote in favor of gay marriage. The relatively moderate Justice Kennedy will probably cast the deciding vote.

Justice Kennedy wrote the majority decision for Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state anti-sodomy laws. Lawrence v. Texas, therefore, made it a constitutional right for consenting adults to engage in any sort of sexual activity they desire, making gay sex legal.

Five states allow same sex unions, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia. Thirty-nine states have passed legislation that explicitly outlaws same-sex marriage.

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