All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The above is section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. No state can pick and choose a group of people that the protection of the laws apply to while leaving out any other. Even if the state's voters want to. It is on that basis that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional
, just as Judge Vaughn Walker had done in a lower court.
“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different people differently,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the decision. “There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted.”
“All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same sex-couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation ‘marriage,” the judge wrote, adding: “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California."
It's a little overcast in Silicon Valley as I sit and write this today, but today is a bright day in the history of LGBT civil rights. And it's a bright day for America.