Archive for August, 2010

The Barbara Jordan/Bayard Rustin Coalition (JRC) applauds Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s opinion overturning California’s controversial Proposition 8 and finding it to be unconstitutional. As the premiere Black LGBT political organization in Southern California, we appreciate the Judge’s historic ruling in paving the way for all Californians to have equal access to civil marriage.

Judge Walker, who is an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, heard important testimony about the historical significance of the institution of marriage, as well as the nature of homosexuality and the degree of political power in the LGBT community. The opinion demonstrated that Judge Walker was very thorough and detailed, carefully examining the credibility of the witnesses and their arguments, while giving due consideration to both sides. The vast majority of the testimony led to only one conclusion: the extension of civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. Walker ruled that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates equal protection and due process rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

“This is a great victory for the Black LGBT community and for all those concerned with justice and ending discrimination. It is a great day for California, however, our work is far from complete. There is still much work needed to educate our community about the LGBT community, the importance of marriage, and the dire need to end discrimination and homophobia,” said JRC Community Organizer Rodney Nickens, Jr.

The 136-page decision, issued by Judge Walker,is but the first step in what will inevitably be a long legal fight over Proposition 8. Additionally, although today’s ruling affirms that a majority cannot strip a minority group of its fundamental rights by popular vote, this is only the first step in the battle to change the political climate in our community around marriage and other issues important to the LGBT community. Today’s decision is likely to be appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights, a Los Angeles-based non-profit is funding the litigation and hired former Solicitor General Ted Olson, a conservative, and David Boies to represent two couples who were challenging Proposition 8.

JRC ( exists to empower same-gender loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families in the Greater Los Angeles area, to promote equal marriage rights and to advocate for fair treatment of everyone without regard to race, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.


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