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Federal Court Repeals Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Publication Date: 
August 05, 2010
The Stanford Daily
Amy Julia Harris and Jane LePham

Professor Michael Wald is quoted on Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling in California's Proposition 8 trial, overturning the state's ban on same-sex marriage. Amy Julia Harris and Jane LePham of The Stanford Daily filed this story:

In a long-awaited victory for gay rights advocates, a federal judge in San Francisco struck down Proposition 8 yesterday, overturning the 2008 voter initiative banning same-sex marriage in California.

The decision from federal judge Vaughn Walker, J.D. ‘70 was lauded by gay-rights luminaries as a major win for civil rights, while lambasted by traditional marriage groups, who have said that they will appeal the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Walker’s ruling overturns Prop. 8, the decision will not immediately lead to any new same-sex marriages in the state of California.


But don’t call the ruling a landmark just yet, said Michael Wald, an emeritus professor at the law school.

“I think it’s an important ruling,” Wald said. “It’s the first federal court, as opposed to a state court, that has ruled that prohibitions on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. The state supreme courts in Massachusetts, Connecticut and California, for example, have all ruled this based on state constitutions. In this sense, I think today’s decision is a very important ruling, but it’s not anything that hasn’t been done before.”