[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/05/art.prop8.jpg caption="Same Sex Marriage Ban in California ruled unconstitutional."]
Editor's note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Christopher Wolf, a privacy lawyer in Washington.
Special to CNN
Two federal judges have made an important difference in my life recently. I am a lawyer, and judges' rulings frequently have a professional effect. But this time, it's personal.
This spring, a federal judge from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia officiated at my marriage to my partner of 13 years, Jim, under the laws of the District of Columbia, where we live. On Wednesday, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the Proposition 8 ballot initiative in California denying same-sex marriage violated fundamental legal rights guaranteed by law.
His ruling has given my marriage even greater meaning. The restoration of rights to others and the further recognition of the right to marry makes the enjoyment of our rights even more fulfilling.
Judge Walker wrote in a 136-page decision that Prop 8 violated both the due process and equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution, concluding:
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same-sex couples."
That, of course, is not the last word on the subject, as appeals to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and to the United States Supreme Court are expected. But, the thorough analysis following a lengthy trial and the thorough recognition of the right to same-sex marriage as a matter of constitutional law creates a high barrier for opponents to surmount.
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