According to The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder, the following 13 points comprise everything one needs to know about Judge Vaughn Walker's decision invalidating California's Proposition 8, a referendum passed by voters that banned same-sex marriage. These "facts," Ambinder reminds us, were determined from the testimony and evidence presented throughout the court case.
1. Marriage is and has been a civil matter, subject to religious intervention only when requested by the intervenors.
2. California, like every other state, doesn't require that couples wanting to marry be able to procreate.
3. Marriage as an institution has changed over time; women were given equal status; interracial marriage was formally legalized; no-fault divorce made it easier to dissolve marriages.
4. California has eliminated marital obligations based on gender.
5. Same-sex love and intimacy "are well-documented in human history."
6. Sexual orientation is a fundamental characteristic of a human being.
7. Prop 8 proponents' "assertion that sexual orientation cannot be defined is contrary to the weight of the evidence."
8. There is no evidence that sexual orientation is chosen, nor than it can be changed.
9. California has no interest in reducing the number of gays and lesbians in its population.
10. "Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital union."
11. "Marrying a person of the opposite sex is an unrealistic option for gay and lesbian individuals."
12. "Domestic partnerships lack the social meaning associated with marriage, and marriage is widely regarded as the definitive expression of love and commitment in the United States. The availability of domestic partnership does not provide gays and lesbians with a status equivalent to marriage because the cultural meaning of marriage and its associated benefits are intentionally withheld from same-sex couples in domestic partnerships."
13. "Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not affect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages."
See also the previous Wild Reed post:
Prop 8 Struck Down
Two Anti-Prop 8 Attorneys Discuss Same-Sex Marriage
Recommended Off-site Links:
Prop 8 Overturned: Why Vaugh Walker Ruled Against Gay Marriage Ban - Warren Richey (The Christian Science Monitor, August 4, 2010).
Prop 8 Ruling is Just the Beginning - Eve Conant (Newsweek, August 4, 2010).
Image: Spencer Jones, left, kisses his husband Tyler Barrick after hearing the decision overturning Prop 8 in San Francisco on Aug. 4, 2010. (Photo: Jeff Chiu / AP)