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Prop. 8 Upheld

Prop. 8 Upheld

In a stunning and widely unexpected loss gay marriage proponents, a federal judge on Wednesday upheld California's Proposition 8 as constitutional.

In a stunning and widely unexpected loss gay marriage proponents, a federal judge on Wednesday upheld California's Proposition 8 as constitutional.

Nearly seven months after an unprecedented evidentiary trial over gay marriage began in a San Francisco federal courtroom, U.S. district judge Vaughn R. Walker released his opinion without a hearing in Perry v. Schwarzenegger shortly after __ pm pacific time. Advocate.com will post Walker's opinion as soon as it is available.

Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, who represented two gay couples who were denied marriage licenses, are expected to appeal the decision before the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The legal team and plaintiffs are scheduled to attend a public event Wednesday evening in West Hollywood.

Wednesday's decision was an emotional defeat for marriage equality activists who have been dealt stinging blows in state battles elsewhere in the country. Last month Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed a civil unions bill, following gay marriage legislative defeats in both New York and New Jersey. Attorneys with Lambda Legal and the ACLU filed suit last week in Hawaii, challenging the state's inadequate patchwork of protection for same-sex couples.

In July, however, a federal judge in Boston ruled in two separate cases that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Largely overshadowed by the Prop. 8 suit, the two DOMA suits are considered narrower in scope yet also highly significant, targeting one portion of the 1996 law that limits the definition of marriage to one man and one woman for all federal purposes.

Attorneys challenging Prop. 8 had made broader claims regarding the fundamental right to marriage and the unconstitutional nature of laws that deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.

It's unclear what the tenor of multiple planned events will be around the country following Wednesday's court loss. Rallies in Los Angeles and San Francisco following the passage of Prop. 8 were attended by thousands of people who marched peacfully in the streets over the course of several weeks.  

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Michelle Garcia