Gays and Lesbians have been celebrating in California after a federal judge overturned a 2008 ban on same-sex marriages.
Although handing a significant victory to gay rights advocates, the decision is almost certain to go to the US Supreme Court.
For one gay activist it was an historic day. “This is a great victory for us even though it may not be the final decision. It is the first time it has been argued in the federal court and it is great to have that argument come out in our favour,” he said.
The judge found that a voter-approved ban known as “Proposition 8” violated equal rights and was thus unconstitutional.
For one supporter of the ban it was a big disappointment. “I feel like I live in a dictatorship now and that my vote doesn’t count… my vote basically didn’t matter. Why did I go out to the polls and vote for Prop 8 when one unelected judge can overturn that.”
For now “Proposition 8” stands pending appeal, but legal scholars say the ruling has wide implications for nearly 40 states with similar laws, making it more difficult to defend a ban on the basis of moral grounds or social tradition.