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March 14, 2005

California court strikes down anti-marriage law

A California trial court judge has held that California's statutes defining marriage as between a man and a woman are unconstitutional.

In addition to finding that the statutes were unconstitutional because they did not serve any rational state purpose, the court also concluded that the statutes had to be analyzed under the demanding "strict scrutiny" test because they constituted a gender-based (and therefore constitutionally suspect) classification, and because they implicated the fundamental right to marry.  The "strict scrutiny" point is important because statutes analyzed under the "strict scrutiny" test have a much better chance of being declared unconstitutional than those analyzed under the more forgiving "rational basis" test.

In the great scheme of things, this decision has little significance; the only opinion that matters in this case is that of the California Supreme Court (to whom this decision will undoubtedly be appealed).  Nonetheless, it's a symbolic victory for those who believe in freedom to marry.  Freedom, as the saying goes, is on the march.

Posted by David at 05:16 PM in Law and Lawyers, National | Permalink


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