For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Robyn Shepherd, (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666;

California Marriage Ban Struck Down

ACLU Hails Historic Decision And Urges Efforts In Other States To Ensure Success On Appeal

a landmark decision today, a federal judge ruled that Proposition 8,
the California ballot initiative that excluded same-sex couples from
marriage in the state, violates the United States Constitution. The
American Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Lesbian Rights
(NCLR) and Lambda Legal filed two friend-of-the-court briefs in the case
supporting the argument that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

"Today's decision is a huge victory
for the LGBT people of America. For the first time, a federal court has
conducted a trial and found that there is absolutely no reason to deny
same-sex couples the fairness and dignity of marriage," said James
Esseks, Director of the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Project. "At the same time, we know that this is not the end. In order
to give this case the best possible chance of success as it moves
through the appeals courts, we need to show that America is ready for
same-sex couples to marry by continuing to seek marriage and other
relationship protections in states across the country. It's simply not
fair, and not legal, to continue to exclude committed same-sex couples
from marriage."

In the case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger,
Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco
ruled that Proposition 8 violates the Constitution's guarantees of due
process and equal protection. The lawsuit was brought by two same-sex
couples after Proposition 8 passed in 2008, amending the California
Constitution to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

The ACLU is working with same-sex
couples throughout the country to secure the freedom to marry by working
to pass marriage bills in New York, Rhode Island and Maine and by
seeking domestic partnership recognition in Montana, Hawaii, Illinois,
New Mexico and Alaska.

The court's ruling can be found at: 


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