In a sweeping decision that could change the landscape of the gay marriage debate, a federal judged in California has ruled that Proposition 8, the controversial initiative that had banned same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional. Finding no clear reason for same-sex couples to be denied marriage rights, U.S. District Vaughn Walker ruled that the proposition violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution by denying gays and lesbians the same rights as other citizens.
This is a very good decision. It is true that Proposition 8 was, disappointingly, approved by a majority of the voters in California. But this is a classic case of the Enlightenment truth, which must be held sacred in a Jeffersonian republic, that the tyanny of the majority has no right under natural law to deny any minority group their basic human rights, including the right to marry whomever they want.
This decision is certain to be appealed, and may eventually go all the way to the Supreme Court. We're only in the opening stages of what will be a long and bloody judicial battle. But for now, it's time to celebrate a victory for equal rights.