Peter Keane, dean emeritus of Golden Gate University School of Law, has been following the Proposition 8 trial and says he knows exactly what will happen now that U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker overturned the measure banning same-sex marriage.
Are you surprised by the decision? In terms of the interactions I saw between Judge Walker and the lawyers involved, I knew that he would throw it out. At the same time, I knew that he wouldn’t immediately enjoin Prop. 8. That would have been a very chancy thing to do and is not like him, he’s a cautious guy. There would be countless complications if same-sex couples were allowed to marry before the U.S. Supreme Court had a chance to hear the case.
So what’s next? It goes to the 9th Circuit, here in San Francisco. It doesn’t matter what they do. If they overturn or agree with the decision, it’s going to the U.S. Supreme Court where it’s going to be a 5-4 decision and it’s all going to hinge on Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Which way will it go? In two cases where sexual orientation has been at stake at that level, Kennedy has provided the vote to strike them down, saying that discriminating against people because of sexual orientation violates the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment. If you were going to lay odds as a bookie, then I’d say that Walker’s opinion will be affirmed by the Supreme Court and Kennedy will be the swing vote.
Did anything surprise you about Wednesday’s ruling? Not a thing.