California's Prop. 8 overturned


Hollywood awaits Prop. 8 decision
Read the full Prop. 8 decision

Proposition 8 was overturned today by a federal judge, who ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in California.

The judge said that the proposition was unconstitutional under both the due-process and equal-protection clauses.

Ellen DeGeneres reacted to the ruling with a jubilant tweet, saying, "This just in: Equality won!"

Such Hollywood heavyweights as producer Bruce Cohen, director Rob Reiner and his wife Michele Singer Reiner and writer Dustin Lance Black played a key role in bringing together the two attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies, who took on the case, known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger.

Filed by two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco, the plaintiffs' suit argued that Proposition 8, which was approved by California voters in 2008, was an unlawful infringement on the civil rights of gay men and lesbians.

The ruling by Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, sided with the plaintiffs.

Reacting to the ruling, Olson said that he hoped the case would "make a change in this country so that gay and lesbian individuals are treated with the respect that other citizens take for granted and the freedoms that other citizens take for granted. We hope that that will be the outcome at the end of this trail."

Cohen -- an Oscar winner as producer of "American Beauty" and a producer of the upcoming Oscar show -- sits on the board of the American Foundation for Equal Rights along with the Reiners and Black. The nonprofit, headed by political activist Chad Griffin, was created to help steer the case through the courts.

"It's a great moment," Cohen said of the judge's ruling, which he was still working his way through early Wednesday afternoon. "We were hoping that Judge Walker, when he heard all the evidence which we heard in court, would come to the conclusion that there is no doubt that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, but to have it be official and to see it the actual court documents is incredibly thrilling and exciting."

He praised Olson and Boies, who had famously faced off against each other before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, which decided the contested presidential election, but who joined forces to challenge Prop. 8.

"Having met them, spent time with them and heard them both argue in court, it's hard to describe the complete brilliance and dedication that they bring to this case," he said. "Our hope was that we could get a ruling very much like this one."

The case is expected to be appealed and eventually to find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
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