On August 4, in San Francisco, Vaughn R. Walker, United States District Chief Judge for the Northern District of California, rendered his decision in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger and ruled that Proposition 8, which passed with 52 percent of the vote in 2008 and bars same-sex marriage in the state, is unconstitutional. In May 2009, attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, of the law firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Boies, Schiller & Flexner, filed the case on behalf of same-sex couples Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo, and Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier, who had been denied marriage licenses that month. Approximate 18,000 same-sex couples had married in California before the passage of Prop 8.
Judge Walker concluded, "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. 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. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
That evening, in dozens of cities in California and across the country, members and supporters of the LGBT community rallied in celebration of the afternoon's historic decision.
According to the Courage Campaign, in California, the rightwing National Organization for Marriage and Focus on the Family are already gearing up for the fight to appeal Judge Walker's ruling and the American Family Association, which labled him a "black-robed tyrant whose own lifestyle choices make it impossible to believe he could be impartial," is calling for his impeachment.