Proposition 8: Should a judge or voters decide gay marriage rights?

A San Francisco judge rules today on California's controversial Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and woman.

Regardless of how a federal judge rules today on California's Proposition 8, both sides are expected to appeal.

The case could set up an eventual ruling on gay marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court. Proposition 8 itself was a grass-roots effort to overturn a California Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a previously approved state initiative that outlawed gay marriage.

In a democratic republic, who should decide such crucial questions as who has the right to marry? Are such questions best answered by judges, or by voters?

Recommended: Major gay marriage cases in federal court and where they stand

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