A federal judge’s ruling Wednesday overturning California’s ban on same-sex marriage was just one step in a long legal battle. Still, the ruling was historic in deciding that the state ban violated the 14th Amendment’s rights to equal protection and due process. Supporters of the ban argue that the public and state legislatures should be able to decide marriage policies. But the judge, quoting a 1943 case, ruled that “fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote.” Or as a New York Times editorial summarized it, that discrimination isn’t permissible just because a majority of voters approve it.
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