HRC Blog

Two Years Ago Today: Prop 8 Overturned

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

Proposition 8, the discriminatory ban preventing committed, loving same-sex couples from marrying in California, was first held unconstitutional by a federal judge two years ago today. That action set the issue of marriage equality on a path toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

In his ruling, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker found that Prop 8 subjected gays and lesbians to unequal treatment under the law. Walker’s ruling also touched on the unfounded scare tactics that proponents of Prop 8 – primarily through the Protect Marriage coalition – used in pushing the ban:

Indeed, 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…

…Proposition 8 played on the fear that exposure to homosexuality would turn children into homosexuals and that parents should dread having children who are not heterosexual.

HRC President Chad Griffin played a leading role in that victory – as a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, he brought together the bipartisan legal dream team of Ted Olson and David Boies.

We’ve come a long way in two years. Judge Walker’s conclusions were affirmed by a federal appeals court and the Supreme Court will consider whether to review the  Prop 8 case this fall. Public support for marriage equality has surpassed 50 percent, and a growing number of courts are finding that there’s no reason to discriminate against same-sex couples and deny them the thousands of rights and benefits associated with marriage. Imagine where we’ll be in another two years.

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