Lutherans Concerned / North America rejoices in the news that Proposition 8 has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge earlier today. Prop 8, enacted by a small majority of California voters in November 2008, limited marriage to be between one man and one woman in California and has been at the center of debate for several years.
Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, ruled that Prop 8 is contradictory to the due-process and equal-protection clauses of the United States Constitution. In his ruling, he said that same-sex couples “seek to have the state recognize their committed relationships, and [their] relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition and practice of marriage in the United States.”
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of Lutherans Concerned / North America said of today’s decision: “We are heartened indeed that equal protection under the constitution has been upheld for LGBT families. There is a sense that we are reaching the tipping point in both church and state as justice is indeed rolling down like waters. We know that the Prop 8 controversy will not end here. Still, we believe that the changes in our church are affecting society, just as marriage equality, as the law of the land, would, over time, assist the church in its willingness to support all our families.”
The judge’s ruling states that California authorities are permitted to begin issuing marriage licenses again. The ruling notes that California authorities did not defend Prop 8 in this court case. The ruling also specifically forbids California authorities from enforcing any of the provisions of Proposition 8.
Although a significant step toward marriage equality, the ruling is expected to be appealed to higher courts over the next several months. It is also expected that those supporting Prop 8 will ask the higher court to stay the provisions of the ruling while it is being appealed. Lutherans Concerned is committed to continuing the work for equality in the church and in the larger society in which the church works. This is another step in the journey we share together toward our goals of full inclusion and equality. We offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for this ruling and for each one of you who are making this work possible.