Let's Get Ready to Rumble: The Prop. 8 Trial

Word on the street is that the federal judge who has been hearing the Prop. 8 trial here in the City will be releasing his decision tomorrow afternoon. It's about time. The suspense has been killing me:

A federal court ruling on the right of same-sex couples to marry in California is scheduled to be released Wednesday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco will decide whether Proposition 8, the November 2008 initiative that defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman, violated gays' and lesbians' right of equality under the U.S. Constitution.

Walker presided over a nonjury trial in January, the first ever held in a federal court on the issue. The plaintiffs, two gay men from Burbank and two lesbians from Berkeley, testified that their hopes to be married were thwarted when voters overturned the May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

I will now make the very non-daring prediction that Judge Walker will decide that, dagnabbit, there was discrimination and H8 behind the Prop. 8 vote, and that it is thus unconstitutional. Honestly, can there be any other result? Walker is, I am sure, a good man; a fine judge; and someone who only applies the law. However, he is someone with the reputation of a "maverick," which usually means he likes to grandstand on whatever principle will receive the most applause from the glitterati.

More important, before the trial withdrew from the headlines (especially during the presentation of the defendants' case. Imagine that), Judge Walker made news with a couple of questionable rulings that could easily be described as plaintiff friendly. First, he ordered the Defendants to turn over thousands of pages of internal communications for the Yes on 8 campaign, so that the Plaintiffs could search for evidence the ever-elusive "hate" that supposedly drove the Prop. 8 campaign. This was little more than a fishing expedition, and an over-broad and burdensome one at that, not to mention an invasion of privacy. This decision was promptly overturned on appeal. Next, Walker embarked on a quioxtic attempt to televise the trial, despite rules against televising proceedings in federal court. To get around this, he issued an order allowing the trial to be videotaped and then uploaded to Youtube. Maverick! This one went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which also promptly shot this idea down.

It was also an open secret that Judge Walker is gay...not that there's anything wrong with that. But, it sure is funny how the case got to the point where the Plaintiffs had presented their case in chief, and the Defendants were nearly done presenting theirs, before word of this "secret" leaked out to the masses.

I should add that the "evidence" presented in this case by both sides will give you an idea of how fundamentally silly it is to try to adjudicate the "meaning" of marriage:

The plaintiffs' witnesses also included researchers who said sexual orientation has no relationship to successful parenting and that marriage in the United States is an evolving institution.

The conservative religious coalition that sponsored Prop. 8 offered testimony that the male-female definition of marriage is universal and that children are better off with married, biological parents.


Ultimately it doesn't matter who "wins" tomorrow. It's going to be appealed anyway. Actually, scratch that. It will matter in the sense that, once again, voters will watch the news and see yet another unaccountable federal judge turn the law upside down in the name of the "living constitution." The smug Left may put another notch in their belt, but the they will not be any closer to mainstream acceptance of their ideas.

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