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California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a federal judge in San Francisco has ruled.
Proposition 8, passed by 52% of voters in November 2008, defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. But after a non-jury trial earlier this year, Chief District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the initiative violated the equal-protection and due-process clauses of the 14 Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
After the court announced yesterday that it would issue its ruling today, both sides said they would appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, also in San Francisco, depending on the outcome. Regardless of how the appeals court rules, the case will reach the U.S. Supreme Court next year or 2012.
Two gay men from Burbank and two lesbians from Berkeley challenged the law, which came in response to a May 2008 state Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage. In February 2004, San Francisco's new mayor, Gavin Newsom, approved same- sex marriages, and the city issued about 4,0000 marriage licenses before the state Supreme Court halted the weddings in March. Four months later the court voided all the licenses, prompting lawsuits from gay married couples.
The court set up a special site for the case.
Here's background on the battle over same-sex marriage in California.
Update at 4:58 p.m. ET: In his 136-page opinion, Walker ruled that Proposition 8 "both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation," and that the plaintiffs "seek to have the state recognize their committed relationships, and plaintiffs' relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition and practice of marriage in the United States."
Ultimately, Walker concluded, Prop. 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. "
Update at 5:33 p.m. ET: In a statement, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who refused to defend Prop. 8 in court, notes that Walker "came to the same conclusion I did when I declined to defend it."
Brown, a Democrat and former governor, is running against Republican Meg Whitman, a founder of eBay, to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Whitman opposes same-sex marriage.
In his response, Schwarzenegger said, "For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves. At the same time, it provides an opportunity for all Californians to consider our history of leading the way to the future, and our growing reputation of treating all people and their relationships with equal respect and dignity.
"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."
Update at 5:55 p.m. ET: Opponents are weighing in, USA TODAY's Donna Leinwand reports.
Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, called the judge biased.
"Big surprise! We expected nothing different from Judge Vaugh Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial," Brown said in a statement. "With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman. This ruling, if allowed to stand, threatens not only Prop 8 in California but the laws in 45 other states that define marriage as one man and one woman."
"Here we have an openly gay (according to the San Francisco Chronicle) federal judge substituting his views for those of the American people and of our Founding Fathers who I promise you would be shocked by courts that imagine they have the right to put gay marriage in our Constitution," NOM chairman Maggie Gallagher added in the statement.
On her Faith & Reason blog, USA TODAY's Cathy Lynn Grossman writes that the Mormons, who were perhaps the biggest backers of Prop. 8, were first to respond.
They said, in part, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regrets today's decision. California voters have twice been given the opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage in their state and both times have determined that marriage should be recognized as only between a man and a woman. We agree. Marriage between a man and woman is the bedrock of society."
Update at 6:27 p.m. ET: The Los Angeles Times points out that Vaughn temporarily stayed his order until Friday to give Prop. 8 supporters time to file appeals and seek a longer stay. As a result, the Times writes, "The decision would appear to delay any resumption of gay marriage in the state."
(Posted by Michael Winter)
But since F&R focuses on religion, I'll zero in on the relevant quotes in Walker's ruling that address the interests of religious institutions, clergy and believers. You could summarize it pretty quickly, Walker seems to be saying, "'Believers, it's not about you."
The ruling says:
Marriage in the United States has always been a civil matter. Civil authorities may permit religious leaders to solemnize marriages but not to determine who may enter or leave a civil marriage. Religious leaders may determine independently whether to recognize a civil marriage or divorce but that recognition or lack thereof has no effect on the relationship under state law.
Walker also writes,
Proposition 8 does not affect the First Amendment rights of those opposed to marriage for same-sex couples. Prior to Proposition 8, no religious group was required to recognize marriage for same-sex couples.
He cites the California constitution that...
[A]ffording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.
But he spells out in all capital letters in the decision:
A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION...
California's obligation is to treat its citizens equally, not to "mandate [its] own moral code."
What do you think of Walker's view that gay marriage does no harm to the lives and rights of those who believe in traditional man-woman marriage? How does gay marriage affect your religious or moral life?
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පළමුව ව්යවස්ථාව - දෙවනුව මැතිවරණය
- තෙවනුව සෙනෙට් මණ්ඩලය
ව්යවස්ථා සංශෝධනය අදියර තුනකින්
ඇමැති විමල් වීරවංශ පැහැදිලි කරයි
දැනට පවතින ආණ්ඩුක්රම ව්යවස්ථාව අදියර තුනක් යටතේ සංශෝධනය කෙරේ. එහි ප්රථම අදියරේදී විධායක ජනාධිපති ධුරයට අදාළ බලතල සහ 17 වැනි ව්යවස්ථා සංශෝධනයට අදාළ කටයුතු සිදුවන අතර මෙය ලබන නොවැම්බර් මාසය වන විට සිදු කෙරෙන බව ජාතික නිදහස් පෙරමුණේ නායක ඇමැති විමල් වීරවංශ මහතා පැවසීය.
මෙම නව ව්යවස්ථා සංශෝධනය නිසි කාල රාමුවකට යටත්ව සිදු කෙරෙන බව ද ඒ අනුව දෙවැනි සහ තෙවැනි අදියර සංශෝධනය ඉදිරි වසර එකහමාරක් හෝ දෙකක් ඇතුළතදී සිදු කෙරෙන බව ද ඒ මහතා සඳහන් කළේය.
බත්තරමුල්ලේ පිහිටි ජාතික නිදහස් පෙරමුණේ පක්ෂ කාර්යාලයේදී ඊයේ (13 වැනිදා) පැවැති මාධ්ය හමුවකදී ඒ මහතා මේ බව පැවසීය.
මේ අනුව හිටපු ජනාධිපති ඡේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන මහතා විසින් ස්ථාපිත කරනු ලැබූ 78 ආණ්ඩුක්රම ව්යවස්ථාව සැලකිය යුතු වෙනසකට ලක්වන බව වීරවංශ මහතා සඳහන් කළ අතර ප්රථමයෙන් ව්යවස්ථා සංශෝධනයත්a දෙවනුව මැතිවරණ සංශෝධනයත් තෙවනුව සෙනෙට් මණ්ඩලයක් වැනි ආකෘතියක් හරහා අදාළ කටයුත්ත සිදුවන බව ද ඇමැතිවරයා සඳහන් කළේය.
ව්යවස්ථා සංශෝධනයට අදාළව ජාතික නිදහස් පෙරමුණ විසින් යෝජනා කර සිටියේ මෙරට තුළ බෙදුම්වාදය සහ ජාතිවාදය පෝෂණය වීම වැළැක්වීම සඳහා අවශ්ය අණ පනත් කෙටුම්පත් කිරීම බවද හෙතෙම කියා සිටියේය.
ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතාගේ ප්රධානත්වයෙන් රැස් වූ පක්ෂ නායකයන් පවතින ආණ්ඩුක්රම ව්යවස්ථාව සංශෝධන කිරීම පිළිබඳව පුළුල් වශයෙන් සාකච්ඡා පැවැත්වූ බවද තවත් කාරණා කිහිපයක් සම්බන්ධව තවදුරටත් සාකච්ඡා පැවැත්විය යුතු බවද වීරවංශ මහතා පැවසීය.
කෙසේ වෙතත් ව්යවස්ථා සශෝධනය සිදු කිරීමේදී මධ්යම රජය සතු බලය කිසිලෙසකින්වත් දුර්වල නොකිරීමට කටයුතු සිදු කළ යුතු අතර පවතින මැතිවරණ ක්රමයේ වෙනසක් කඩිනමින් සිදු කළ යුතු බවට යෝජනා ඉදිරිපත් වී තිබෙන බවද හෙතෙම සඳහන් කළේය.
මෙම මාධ්ය හමුවට සම්ප්රදායික කර්මාන්ත හා කුඩා ව්යවසාය නියෝජ්ය ඇමැති වීරකුමාර දිසානායක, පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්රී අචල ජාගොඩ, ජනිපෙ මාධ්ය ප්රකාශක මොහොමඩ් මුසම්මිල් යන මහත්වරුද සහභාගි වූහ.
ව්යවස්ථාව සංශෝධනය කිරීම අත්යවශ්ය බවට රජයෙන් ප්රකාශයක්.
Posted on Mon, 08 Feb 2010 06:38AM LKT (GMT +0530)
වත්මන් ආණ්ඩුක්රම ව්යවස්ථාව සංශෝධනය කිරීම එළඹෙන මහ මැතිවරණයෙන් පත්වන නව පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ ප්රමුඛ කාර්යයක් විය යුතු බව ආණ්ඩුක්රම ව්යවස්ථා කටයුතු අමාත්ය ඩි්යු ගුණසේකර මහතා පෙන්වාදෙනවා. නෙත් ප්රවෘත්ති වෙත අදහස් දක්වමින් අමාත්යවරයා පෙන්වාදෙන්නේ වත්මන් ආණ්ඩුක්රම ව්යවස්ථාවෙන් අර්බුද රැුසක් නිර්මාණය කර ඇති බවයි.
MP Mani Shankar Aiyar Extols India’s Secular Tradition
Several European countries are tightening laws on the veil
A woman visiting a post office in Novara, north-western Italy, has been stopped by police for wearing an Islamic veil covering her face.
A police official told the AFP news agency the woman would have to pay a 500-euro (£430) fine.
It is the first such police action since Novara brought in a by-law in January banning clothing preventing immediate identification in public.
The city is run by the anti-immigration Northern League.
The party is a powerful junior coalition partner in Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's national government.
Novara Mayor Massimo Giordano said the by-law was meant to deter women from covering themselves with the veil in public.
"But unfortunately it is apparently not yet clear to everyone that clothes preventing the wearer's identification can be tolerated at home but not in public places, in schools, on buses or in post offices," he said, according to the Italian state news agency Ansa.
"There are still some people that refuse to understand that our community in Novara does not accept and does not want people going around wearing the burka."
He said the by-law was "the only tool at our disposal to stop behaviour that makes the already difficult process of integration even harder".
The woman, described as a Tunisian national, was apparently visiting the post office with her husband when she was stopped by police.
When her husband refused to let her be identified by male officers, they called in a female colleague, AFP reported.
Italy has, since 1975, had a national anti-terrorism law which forbids any mask or clothing that makes it impossible to identify the wearer.
However, the law permits exceptions for "justified cause", which has often been interpreted by courts as including religious reasons for wearing a veil, Ansa reports.
Several local authorities have introduced tighter regulations, and a Northern League bill currently before parliament would specifically outlaw Islamic face veils.
Similar moves have been taking place in other Western European countries.
A ban on wearing masks and veils in public has passed the Belgian lower house and is set to go before the Senate. It would be the first such national law in Europe if approved.
The French government is
similar legislation, and at the weekend a German member of the European
Parliament said a ban should be enforced across the EU.
Campaigners say there are up to 150 acid attacks every year
Several men have been arrested in connection with an acid attack on three girls in Pakistan's Balochistan province last week, police say.
The sisters, aged between 14 and 20 years old, were attacked as they walked from Kalat city to Pandarani village.
The girls suffered serious burns on their faces and bodies when two men on a motorcycle drew up and threw acid over them.
Campaigners say there may be 150 acid attack victims in Pakistan each year.
The police named the girls as Fatima Bibi, 20, Saima Bibi, 16 and Sakina Bibi, 14.
The girls had been on their way to a wedding celebration outside the town of Kalat when the incident happened.
In recent days there have been several demonstrations condemning the perpetrators with protesters saying such attacks are against Baloch traditions.
Two weeks ago, an unknown group - the Baloch Ghairatmand Group (the Honourable Baloch Group) - claimed responsibility for a similar attack on two women in a market in Dalbandin city.
The group had warned women to wear the hijab, the traditional Muslim headscarf, and not to visit markets unaccompanied by men from their families.
The attack was criticised by Balochistan's political leaders as well as armed rebel groups, who said it had been carried out by elements that wanted to push the Baloch people back in time.