Prop 8 Decision Expected Today, Chicagoans Plan Rally

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Aug 4, 2010 4:30PM

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Photo by chloeloe
A ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in the federal trial challenging the constitutionality of California's gay marriage-banning Proposition 8 is due late this afternoon, alerting activists on both sides of the issue nationwide who have anxiously awaited a decision in the unprecedented trial since it began in January. In Chicago, LGBT activists have planned a rally for Daley Plaza at 6 p.m. Other cities nationwide have scheduled similar rallies.

Walker's decision on Perry v. Schwarzenegger will be released electronically sometime between 3 and 5 p.m. CST via the federal court's website. LGBT activists and same-sex marriage foes alike see the Perry decision as critical not only to the future of California's controversial gay marriage ban, passed in November 2008, but potentially to same-sex relationship recognition nationwide.

National Organization for [Straight] Marriage chairman Maggie Gallagher emphasized the case's importance in June, when her organization attended its closing arguments in San Francisco. She and others opposed to same-sex marriage are reportedly not feeling too confident the vote will go their way and are already planning their appeal; one that is likely to eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Perry case is very likely to decide the future of marriage in America,” Gallagher said. “We want supporters of marriage all across the country to have a clear understanding of the threat this federal judge poses to the very survival of marriage in America.”

Rick Jacobs, founder of the pro-LGBT unions Courage Campaign, which has posted an excellent rundown of pertinent information on the trial, told CNN he was feeling hopeful for a historic decision. "I can only say that based on the evidence in the trial, it is absolutely clear that allowing gays and lesbians to marry will strengthen families and the nation," Jacobs said. "No matter how the judge rules ... we've already won a significant victory because the other side admitted they have no argument."

We'll be updating this story as soon as the decision is announced later today.