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"Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment," he noted. "Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation."
To read Walker's complete ruling click here.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the judicial process, saying "all viewpoints were respected throughout the proceedings."
"For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity."
The nation's largest gay rights group, The Human Rights Campaign, hailed the judge's decision.
"After hearing extensive evidence in support of marriage equality, and essentially no defense of the discrimination wrought by Prop 8, Judge Walker reached the same conclusion we have always known to be true -- the Constitution's protections are for all Americans, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a news release. "We thank the courageous plaintiff couples, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies for their tremendous efforts leading to today's decision and their ongoing commitment as the case moves forward on appeal."
Olson and Boies argued the plaintiffs case -- 10 years after they were on opposite sides of the Supreme Court battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore over the Florida presidential vote recount.
Prop 8's sponsors filed papers Tuesday in anticipation of losing. They asked Walker, if he were to rule against them, to leave the ban intact while they appeal.
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