Gays May Get Married But Not So Fast

Many would-be-married gays in California have been waiting attentively on another ruling from Justice Vaughn Walker on whether or not Gay Marriage should be put on hold pending the outcome of appeals which are expected to take the case the all way up to the Supreme Court of the United States.  Walker ruled to allow marriage to take place in the interim but allowed proponents of Proposition 8 one more week (ending the 18th of August) to file additional appeals with the 11th District Court.

 

As reason for their request of a “stay” or a “hold” on actual issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples, the lawyers for the ban cited four complaints paraphrased here:

1)     That gay marriage would not “likely” succeed in the Supreme Court of the United States.

2)      That allowing gay couples to marry and then subtracting the existing right would cause “irreparable harm” to gays who got married.

3)     That nobody would be “substantially injured” by holding off on issuing the licenses to wed.

4)     Lastly, that the “public interest” lies in stalling gay marriage for any length of time.

Walker could have agreed with the Proposition 8 defenders on any one of these merits and kept the stay intact but it would not be necessary for them to make a perfect case here as the hold was already his decision. Or he could have agreed with some of the merits and still lifted the hold should the legal mandate to allow the licenses outweigh even numerous good reasons to cool our heels.

But cool our heels we will, as Walker’s ruling to lift the stay comes with a week-long caveat. Walker would not forsake his impartiality to go ringing wedding bells when the bell of freedom is at stake.

Those who read Walker’s ruling could have surmised that he would rule in favor of allowing marriage to take place in spite of fear-mongering and supposition.  On the issue of a wait for licenses, Walker noted that “proponents have not given the court any basis to exercise its discretion to grant a stay.”

The nail-biting suspense added by the stay of issuing actual marriage licenses can be seen as just a microcosm of the entire case itself.  Today’s ruling, much like Walker’s ruling against the constitutionality of Proposition 8 was, in part, based on the idea that fears of what may happen in the future are not legally valid when challenging civil rights in the present.

The lawyers for Proposition 8 were less than straight with Judge Walker when they promised to “demonstrate that redefining marriage to encompass same-sex relationships would [bring into] effect some twenty-three specific and harmful consequences.”  According to Walker’s ruling, “proponents only presented one witness, David Blankenhorn. Blankenhorn’s testimony […] provided no credible evidence to support any of the claimed adverse effects proponents promised to demonstrate.”

In layman’s terms, you can say that Judge Vaughn Walker is no Chicken Little and will question those who claim the sky is falling on civil rights in California.

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