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Higher courts will decide constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban

SAN FRANCISCO — In the first hearing on a federal challenge of Proposition 8, a judge Thursday reminded lawyers that the constitutionality of the measure against same-sex marriage would be determined by higher courts and that his job was to give them as many facts and findings as possible.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, appearing before a packed courtroom, also declined to suspend Proposition 8 before trial, noting that would create too much uncertainty for California and same-sex couples who married.

"This case is only touching down in this court," Walker said. "It will have life after this court and what happens here in many ways is only a prelude to what is going to happen later.

"Our job at this point," he said, "is to make a record."

Walker's statements mirrored a tentative ruling he handed down Tuesday. That ruling heartened gay rights activists, who said Walker made it clear he appreciated the gravity of the challenge and their arguments.

Neither side objected to his refusal to issue an injunction.

Higher courts will decide constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban 07/02/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 2, 2009 11:20pm]
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