Appeals Court Says California’s Gay Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional
A Federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that California’s voter-driven gay marriage ban was unconstitutional, in a contentious case which could lead to a significant Supreme Court case.
Those in favor of the ban have stated they would appeal the ruling. The Protect Marriage Collation, who sponsored the ban, said that the court’s decision wasn’t in-line with “every other federal appellate and Supreme Court decision.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the ban in a split decision, but did not specifically address whether or not marriage is a fundamental right that should be available to same-sex couples as well as heterosexuals. The two judges ruling in the majority opinion said that Proposition 8 did not further what was referred to as “responsible procreation,” which was a key argument forwarded by the ban’s supporters.
In 2008, California outlawed same-sex marriage with a voter-driven initiative which came to be known as Proposition 8. The conservative vote by the public was seen as a significant moment in what many refer to as the culture wars. Two gay couples responded to the ban by filing the legal challenge currently making its way through the federal courts.
A federal district judge in San Francisco stuck down the Prop 8 in 2010 and opponents immediately appealed the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both supporters and opponents of the legislation said they are ready to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. A lawyer for the Protect Marriage Coalition said they have not decided whether or not they will ask a larger 9th Circuit panel to hear the case or whether they will appeal the matter directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ rules require that at least two weeks pass before a ruling takes effect. As a result, same sex marriages cannot immediately resume in California.