Gee, what a surprise: the federal judge who sought to turn the Prop 8 case over which he presided into a show trial/propaganda forum for gay rights activists, only to be rebuked by the U.S. Supreme Court, strikes down California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. Who’d have thought it? According to the Associated Press:

A federal judge overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit filed by two gay couples who claimed the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights.

Despite the favorable ruling for same-sex couples, gay marriage will not be allowed to resume immediately. Judge Walker said he wants to decide whether his order should be suspended while the proponents of the ban pursue their appeal in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Right. The chances of Walker granting the proponents’ request is roughly the same as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chances of winning the next Miss Universe pageant. Ditto for the proponents’ chances with the Ninth Circuit. This one’s going to the U.S. Supreme Court, and nothing before it will mean much.

UPDATE: I got the “opponents” of Prop 8 and the “proponents” mixed up. That’s been corrected.

UPDATE: The Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United weighed in predictably:

This is a tremendous step forward for individual freedom and church-state separation. Aggressive and well-funded religious groups conspired to take away the civil marriage rights of same-sex couples in California. That was wrong, and I am delighted that the court has ruled the way it has.

Got that? A political campaign that garnered millions of votes to overturn the fiat of an unelected judiciary is a “conspiracy.” So much for the meaning of words.

In a November 2008 referendum, voters narrowly approved Proposition 8, a ballot measure that removed the right of same-sex couples to obtain civil marriages. The referendum was dominated by lavishly funded political front groups representing the Roman Catholic bishops, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) and fundamentalist Protestant churches.

Actually, spending by the two sides of Prop 8 was almost even. But the proponents never should have been allowed to campaign, because they are theocratic poopyheads with the temerity to disagree with AU on a public policy issue.

Lynn said powerful religious interest groups should never have been allowed to change civil marriage laws to reflect their doctrinal teachings.

They weren’t. That was done by the voters of California after hearing the arguments presented by both sides of the Prop 8 campaign, including the United Church of Christ and Episcopal Church in opposition. But that wasn’t the outcome Rev. Lynn favored, so that means his opponents must have been engaged in a “conspiracy” to overturn a brand-new, judicially-mandated “right.”