A huge step forward today on the road toward marriage equality.
Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled a few hours ago that California's Proposition 8, an initiative denying same-sex couples the equal right to marry their partners, is unconstitutional on not one, but two grounds. Agreeing with the ACLU's long-held position, he ruled that denial of marriage rights to all couples violates the constitutional guarantees of both Equal Protection and Due Process. The ACLU applauds the decision which rightly recognizes that all couples deserve for their realtionships to be recognized equally and with dignity.
But while we recognize this as a time to celebrate, we also know this case is not over. Proponents of Prop 8 have indicated they will appeal to the 9th Circuit, and it is likely that the case could travel all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's also important to remember that such rulings are not determined in a vacuum. As James Esseks, Director of the ACLU's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender project put it, "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."
Here in Nevada, we worked hard with other community partners and the bill's sponsor, Senator David Parks, to pass Nevada's Domestic Partnership law, which has been a smashing success since it took effect last October. But the fight goes on: we continue to seek full recognition of same-sex relationships all over the country. The ACLU is working with same-sex couples in many states, working to pass marriage bills in New York, Rhode Island and Maine and seeking domestic partnership recognition in Montana, Hawaii, Illinois, New Mexico and Alaska.
And we won't get complacent over our domestic partnership victory here in the Silver State. The ACLU of Nevada will fight for a future where all Nevadans have a full opportunity to marry the person they love. As the court has demonstrated today, it's the constitutional thing to do.