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Prop 8 Overturned, Banning Gay Marriage Ruled Unconstitutional

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The Day of Decision Protest in Hollywood on May 26, 2009 (more photos here) | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

Judge Vaughn Walker today overturned Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California, calling it unconstitutional. "Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8," Walker wrote in his ruling. "California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result."

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license," Walker said. The full decision can be read here.

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Despite today's news, the decision is expected to be appealed and many believe the case will make its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

People on both sides of the gay marriage issue have been waiting for this moment since June 16th, when closing arguments were heard in the case that began in January. Two years to the date before that, gay marriage was legalized in California, setting course for thousands of marriages that were eventually halted when Prop 8 succeeded, effectively banning same-sex marriage in California. Later, the state's Supreme Court upheld Prop 8, but ruled that the already-married 18,000 gay couples could remain so legally.

At least three rallies are planned within the immediate Los Angeles area. Beginning at 6 p.m. in West Hollywood, a rally sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought the case forward to federal court, will be held at West Hollywood Park on San Vicente Boulevard, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard (map). Another, sponsored by numerous groups, will be held downtown at Olvera Street between 8 and 10 p.m. (map). In Long Beach, a rally from 8 to 10 p.m. will be held in Bixby Park at Broadway & Cherry where same-sex gatherings have occurred before (map).

Other rallies in Southern California will be held in San Diego, Santa Ana, Rancho Cucamonga, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.