The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado (The Center) applauds the ruling today by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker that Proposition 8 in California is unconstitutional and should be repealed.
Walker ruled that California's ban on same-sex marriage violates the Constitution's equal protection and due process rights clauses.
"Although the battle for equality is far from over, this ruling shows it's unconstitutional to deny the LGBT community equal protection under the law," said Center Executive Director Carlos Martinez. "This should lead to a national standard instead of the patchwork of state laws we have now."
Martinez and his husband, Phil Danielson, were married in California in 2008, but that marriage is not legally recognized in Colorado.
Marriages between people of the same sex are not recognized in Colorado because of the state's constitutional amendment passed in 2006 defining marriage in this state to be between one man and one woman. Several laws passed in recent years do, however, provide some protections to LGBT Coloradans.
Jason Cobb and Jason Prussman were also married in California during the brief time such marriages could legally be entered into. Their son, Jacobb, was the ring bearer during their ceremony.
"This ruling is a huge step showing that separate is not equal and that marriage is a fundamental right in this country, not just for some, but for all people," said Jason Cobb. Both Cobb and Prussman are attorneys in the metro-Denver area and have followed the litigation in California closely.
Walker's decision is expected to be appealed to the Ninth Circuit and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court, but the legal challenges could take some time. "The litigation battle to overturn Amendment 2, the anti-gay ballot initiative that would have precluded protections at any level to protect LGBT Coloradans, took many years before ending with the correct result," Martinez said.
The opinion in that case, written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy, famously stated:
"A State cannot so deem a class of persons a stranger to its laws."
Walker's decision is expected to be appealed to the Ninth Circuit and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court.
In May 2008, California's Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the equal right to marry under the state constitution. That decision was effectively overruled when Proposition 8 was approved by voters on Nov. 4, 2008 by a 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent margin. About 18,000 same-sex couples were married in California between June 17 and Nov. 4, 2008.
The day after the vote, three lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 were filed in the California Supreme Court.
The GLBT Community Center of Colorado is the only statewide, nonprofit community center dedicated to empowering and advancing Colorado's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population. It serves as a catalyst for community organizing, support services, social activities and cultural events. To learn more about The Center, click here.