Prop 8 Watch: “The Big One”- 9th Circuit to Rule Tuesday Morning

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to release a decision on California’s discriminatory Proposition 8 tomorrow morning at 11:00 am our time. There are three issues at stake, the most important being the constitutionality of the ban on marriage equality itself.

 In a January 2010 decision, Federal Judge Vaughn Walker, who is gay himself, ruled that Proposition 8, which limits  the definition of marriage in California to one man and one woman, was not only unconstitutional but it was discriminatory and harmful as well.

In his decision, Walker wrote, “Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not effect the number of opposite-sex couples who marry, divorce, cohabit, have children outside of marriage or otherwise affect the stability of opposite-sex marriages.”

According to, Tomorrow’s “three-judge panel actually has three issues before it: whether the backers of Proposition 8 had a legal right to appeal the District Court ruling striking down Proposition 8 (the “standing” issue), whether — if “standing” to appeal did exist — the ballot measure is unconstitutional, and whether now-retired District Judge Vaughn R. Walker should have recused and thus whether his ruling should now be vacated by the Circuit Court.”

“Although the wording of the announcement Monday was not entirely clear and made no promises about the scope of the ruling, it could be interpreted as indicating that the panel will find that the measure’s proponents did have the right to appeal, and thus the panel would be free to move on to rule on the merits and on the disqualification issue.   Given the makeup of the panel and the past records of the three judges, the chances would appear to be quite strong that Proposition 8 would be struck down,” writes Scotusblog  reporter Lyle Denniston.

Included on the panel is Idaho’s own Judge Randy Smith, from Pocatello, who is a Bush era appointee and is considered to be the most conservative of the three judges.

According to the Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Tracker, “From here, the case could go to the full 9th Circuit en banc (a larger panel of 11 judges, rather than just a panel of three, as is the case here) and/or the Supreme Court”

No word yet on how tomorrow’s ruling will affect the 18,000 same-gender couples who wed during the spring and summer of 2008.

NBC San Diego has a great timeline of how we got to this point. View it HERE.

You can read the Judge’s decision once it is released tomorrow morning for yourself by going HERE. 


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