BREAKING: Ninth U.S. Circuit Panel: Prop 8 Unconstitutional!

A three judge panel has upheld a lower court ruling that California’s ban on same-gender marriage is unconstitutional. The decision was  made 2 to 1. According to the decision, the judges agreed with Judge Vaughn walker’s federal court ruling that Prop 8 violates the Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses.

In their ruling the court writes,”Proposition 8 served no purpose and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.”

Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner points out that Idaho’s Randy Smith was the dissenter in the court’s decision. “Ultimately, I am not convinced that Proposition 8 is not rationally related to a legitimate government interest,” wrote  Smith.

Lambda Legal’s John Davison points out that the court also,”upheld a ruling by U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Ware denying Prop 8 proponents’ motion to invalidate Judge Walker’s original decision because he is gay and in a long-term relationship with a man and therefore supposedly should have declined to hear the case.”

“This ruling foreshadows the ultimate fate of other states in the Ninth Circuit that refuse to recognize the equal dignity of same-sex couples and their families by shunting them off into second-class statuses,” writes Davison.

National Organization For Marriage president Brian Brown wrote in a statement following the decision, “Now we have the field cleared to take this issue to the US Supreme Court, where we have every confidence we will prevail.”

So what’s next? According to the LA Times,” The losing party can appeal the ruling to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit, which would delay U.S. Supreme Court review for many months or longer, or go directly to the high court. The sponsors of Proposition 8, ProtectMarriage, have said they were eager to get to the high court as soon as possible.”

The decision won’t affect other states within the 9th circuit though.

“Even if Proposition 8 is struck down and the stay lifted, marriage bans in other states would probably continue until challenged or until state officials refused to recognize them,” attorneys told the Times.

Legal experts also predict that a stay on marriages in California will remain in place for the time being.  On the last page of  the decision, a stay gives opponents 14 days to request a rehearing, which is likely.

The original challenge was brought by two couples, plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo.

A number of rallies are planned today throughout the state of California.

Read the court’s  full decision HERE.

Watch reaction from the American Foundation for Equal Rights during its live press conference starting at 11:30 am mt HERE. There will also be a 6:00 pm Presser with plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson; AFER Board President Chad Griffin; plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo; Dominick Zarrillo; and San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera at the same link.

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7 Responses to BREAKING: Ninth U.S. Circuit Panel: Prop 8 Unconstitutional!

  1. Judge Randy Smith has always been a favorite of mine. Now, he REALLY is!

  2. Pingback: Prop 8 Watch: Today’s The Deadline To Petition For Rehearing « The Idaho Agenda

  3. Pingback: Prop 8 Watch: Today’s The Deadline For Rehearing Request « The Idaho Agenda

  4. Pingback: Must See TV: Dustin Lance Black’s “8″ To Be Streamed Live this Saturday « The Idaho Agenda

  5. Pingback: Watch! “8″: A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality « The Idaho Agenda

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