Adam Polaski

California Marriage Equality's 3rd Anniversary

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 16, 2011 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: California, Judge Walker, Judge Ware, marriage equality, Prop. 8, wedding cake

WeddingCake.jpgThree years ago today, on June 16, 2008, the first same-sex marriages in California were legally recognized. That day kicked off four and a half months of same-sex couples - many of whom had been together for many years - obtaining official, legally recognized marriages. Between June 16 and November 4 of that year, 18,000 same-sex couples were married.

This week, another chapter of the marriage equality struggle in California concluded. On Tuesday, Chief Judge James Ware of the federal district court in San Francisco rejected an effort to disqualify Judge Vaughn Walker's 2010 ruling that nullified Proposition 8. Walker had come under fire by supporters of Prop. 8 when he revealed that he is gay in April of this year. Prop. 8 proponents said it was unfair for Walker to have overturned the ballot initiative's decision because he was biased.

On Tuesday, Judge Ware pointed out how nonsensical their claims were:

A well-informed, thoughtful observer would recognize that the mere fact that a judge is in a relationship with another person-whether of the same or the opposite sex-does not ipso facto imply that the judge must be so interested in marrying that person that he would be unable to exhibit the impartiality which, it is presumed, all federal judges maintain. To assume otherwise is to engage in speculation about a judge's motives and desires on the basis of an unsubstantiated suspicion that the judge is personally biased or prejudiced."

The anniversary of the first legal same-sex marriages in California lined itself up nicely with an important development in the Prop. 8 case last year, too. On June 16, 2010, Judge Walker heard closing arguments in the federal trial that challenged Prop. 8's constitutionality.

This year's anniversary is far less uncertain than last year's - the Republican-appointed Ware's ruling is a significantly positive development in the marriage equality campaign in California and in the broader United States.

To the hundreds of California couples celebrating their milestones today - congratulations, and Happy Anniversary.

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