The first appeal of a federal judge's decision to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage has already been filed at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California, according to The Associated Press.
A speedy appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker's decision was expected, with both sides vowing to put up a fight. On Wednesday, Walker declared the ban - Proposition 8 - unconstitutional, claiming it is in clear violation of the Constitution's due process and equal protection clauses, according to The AP.
Advocates of same-sex marriage celebrated outside the courthouse on Wednesday. While the ruling doesn't immediately lift the ban, the inevitable appeals process is likely to bring it before the Supreme Court. As The AP reports, Walker has asked both sides to come to court prepared with written arguments on Friday, as he considers whether to keep the ban in place as the appeals process continues.
In the meantime, The Los Angeles Times reports that California Attorney General Jerry Brown is calling on Walker to lift the ban, and allow same-sex weddings to cotinue in the state. Brown released a statement in favor of Walker's decision on Wednesday. "Proposition 8 violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution by taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry, without a sufficient government interest," he said, in a posting on his website.
Others similarly applauded the decision to overturn Proposition 8. Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, hailed Walker's decision against Proposition 8 on Wednesday. "Judge Walker reached the same conclusion we have always known to be true - the Constitution's protections are for all Americans, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," he said in a statement posted on HRC's website. "The battle for marriage equality continues, and we must all continue our work - in courthouses and statehouses, in church pews and living rooms - until equality is reality for LGBT people and our families everywhere."
The National Organization for Marriage, meanwhile, blasted Walker's decision in a posting on their website. "With the 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," NOM President Brian Brown said in the statement. "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.'
More than half of California's voters approved the state's ban on same-sex marriage in 2008. Five U.S. states - Connecticut, Iowa, Massachussetts, New Hampshire and Vermont - and Washington, D.C. currently allow same-sex couples to marry.