Prop 8 Overturned In California, Ruled Unconstitutional (Photos)

PHOTOS: California Reacts To Prop 8 Verdict

Opponents of California's gay marriage ban were given reason to celebrate today, as Proposition 8 was declared unconstitutional and overturned. Groups gathered outside the federal court in San Francisco to await the decision, and they erupted in hugs, kisses, and cheers upon hearing Judge Vaughn R. Walker declare that Prop 8 violated the Constitutional rights of gay Californians. In his decision, the judge wrote, "Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples."

Even though the case is officially called "Perry vs. Schwarzenegger," the governor released a statement praising the decision, saying "Today's decision is by no means California's first milestone, nor our last, on America's road to equality and freedom for all people." In fact, attorney general Jerry Brown had refused to defend the proposition on behalf of the state when the lawsuit began, forcing Prop 8 supporters to hire their own legal team.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles released an official statement supporting the ruling, saying, "Justice is advancing thanks to today's ruling affirming Californians' constitutional right to marriage in faithful, same-gender relationships." It's still unclear, however, whether same-sex marriages will start being performed. The AP notes that "Despite the favorable ruling for same-sex couples, gay marriage will not be allowed to resume immediately. Judge Walker said he wants to decide whether his order should be suspended while the proponents of the ban pursue their appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."

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