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News: World

Wed 4 Aug, 2010
By Sam Bristowe

Analysts say Walker's decision on Wednesday will almost certainly be appealed, whichever way he rules

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Prop 8 Judge prepares for ruling decision

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A federal judge is set to issue a long-awaited ruling on California's same-sex marriage ban, the latest twist to a bitter legal battle expected to ultimately lead to the US Supreme Court.

A statement from court officials revealed Judge Vaughn Walker would release his decision on Wednesday, eight months after first hearing arguments from attorneys who claimed the ban violated the US Constitution.

Gay rights activists are hoping Walker will overturn a referendum known as Proposition 8, which effectively outlawed weddings between gays and lesbians in California by defining marriage as unions between men and women.

The ban was upheld by California's top state court in 2009, prompting activists to take their case to the federal court system for the first time.

Opponents argue that the California referendum discriminates against gays and lesbians, and therefore violates the US Constitution.

Analysts say Walker's decision on Wednesday will almost certainly be appealed, whichever way he rules.

The decision by gay rights activists to fight the case in federal court was seen as risky because it could result in a US Supreme Court ruling, which would settle the issue with no possibility of appeal.

The lawsuit was filed by two same-sex couples after the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of Proposition 8 in May last year.

The couples who filed the suit are represented in part by Theodore Olson and David Boies, who battled on opposite sides in the Bush v. Gore lawsuit in 2000 that was decided in favor of former president George W. Bush.

Attorneys for gay marriage opponents argued during the trial that Proposition 8 is legal and based on a centuries-old tradition of male-female marriage, including the inability of same-sex couples to conceive children.

Source: AFP


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