California Gay Marriage Case to Conclude First Round in Federal Court

But the plaintiffs argue in their court brief that Proposition 8 is "the result of disapproval or animus against a politically unpopular group" and represents "a backlash that stripped gays and lesbians of the rights previously conferred upon them by the California Supreme Court...and violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

The two-and-a-half week trial, which began in January and has been delayed for procedural reasons, included testimony from more than a dozen academic experts, philosophers, historians, and psychologists who parsed the nature of marriage, homosexuality and family life. The court also heard testimony on the political influence of groups on both sides of the debate.

Five states -- Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire -- and the District of Columbia currently perform same-sex marriages. Four states recognize marriages performed elsewhere, and nine states grant civil unions or partnerships.

Following Judge Walker's ruling, the case will likely be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco and is expected to ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

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