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Ruling on Prop. 8 a victory for Burbank couple

Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami were one of two couples who filed the legal challenge

August 04, 2010|By Gretchen Meier

A federal judge in San Francisco ruled on Wednesday that a ballot initiative passed by California voters defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled Proposition 8 “unconstitutional under both the due process and equal protection clauses.”

The ruling is a victory for Burbank residents Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, who with a lesbian couple, are challenging Proposition 8.

Zarrillo and Katami could not be immediately reached.

Within the 136-page decision, the court held that the ban failed “to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a of a marriage license.”

Following the line of questioning Walker presented during the closing arguments back in June, the court ruled that “the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples.”

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Walker’s decision is expected to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A Los Angeles-based group funding the litigation hired former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a conservative, and noted litigator David Boies, who squared off against Olson in Bush vs. Gore, to represent the two couples.

The California Supreme Court ruled 4 to 3 that gays and lesbians were entitled to marry under the state constitution in an historic ruling in May 2008. Voters passed Proposition 8 six months later, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

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