Judge Overturns Gay Marriage Ban In California

"A federal judge overturned California's gay marriage ban Wednesday with an unequivocal ruling that could eventually force the U.S. Supreme Court to confront the question of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's strongly worded opinion in the landmark case — the first in a federal court to examine if states can lawfully limit marriage to a man and a woman — touched off a celebration outside the courthouse. Later in the day, a jubilant crowd marched through the city that has long been a haven for gays. As word of the verdict spread, about 300 people assembled in a West Hollywood park waving rainbow gay pride flags. In New York City, a crowd of about 150 gathered outside a lower Manhattan courthouse. They carried signs saying ""Our Love Wins"" as organizers read portions of the 136-page decision aloud. Ruling in a lawsuit filed by two couples who claimed the ban violated their civil rights, Walker methodically dismantled every argument advanced by sponsors of the voter-approved measure, known as Proposition 8, before declaring it unconstitutional."