California's same-sex marriage ban was overturned by a federal judge Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the US Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America.
Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights. Despite the favorable ruling for same-sex couples, gay marriage will not be allowed to resume as the appeals process moves forward.
Supporters argued the ban was necessary to safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing.
California voters passed the ban as Proposition 8 in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.