Calif. gay-marriage ban struck down

same-sex marriage imageFor the first time, a gay-marriage ban has been struck down on federal constitutional grounds.  Federal court Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling on California’s controversial Proposition 8, which had barred same-sex marriages in that state, now heads to the appeals court level and is expected to eventually be decided in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Law Professor Linda McClain, an authority on family law, says Walker’s ruling that the one-man/one-woman marriage rule is a gender-role stereotype “artifact” from an earlier era gives like-minded Supreme Court justices a ready avenue to affirm the opinion. 

“The court carefully reviewed how marriage laws used to mandate different roles for men and women and how California, like other states, has abolished all such restrictions except the one requiring that civil marriage be the union of one man and one woman.  This provides a powerful line of argument because the Supreme Court has previously struck down laws rooted in gender role stereotypes rather than ‘real’ differences between the sexes. “

Contact Linda McClain, 617-358-4635, lmcclain@bu.edu

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