February 7th, 2012
01:03 PM ET

Calif. same-sex marriage ban violates Constitution, appeals court finds

[Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET] California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Tuesday.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to be appealed, to either the full court or to the U.S. Supreme Court. But supporters of same-sex marriages cheered the decision when it was announced outside the courthouse Tuesday morning.

The 2-1 decision found the ban known as Proposition 8 "served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationship and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples." That violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law, the decision states.

The 9th Circuit, in a hearing just over a year ago, indicated it was inclined to toss out Proposition 8. The court also rejected arguments by supporters of the ban that now-retired federal judge Vaughn Walker who found Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010 should have recused himself and let another judge hear the case.

Walker disclosed after his retirement that he is gay and in a long-term relationship, leading Proposition 8 advocates to argue he should have stepped aside.

California's Supreme Court had allowed same-sex marriages in California. But Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the vote in 2008, bringing an end to the practice.

Prior to Walker's ruling, the California Supreme Court allowed that initiative to stand, saying it represented the will of the people.

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Filed under: California • Gay and lesbian • Proposition 8
soundoff (257 Responses)
  1. martin

    so sad. So, i have to explain to my kids why 2 men are married? Its sick and dimented and it goes again all valuies of life. It really is sad that you all actually beleive this crap... they need to put all you in dumsters and kill you off.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Deborah

      Before you impose your views on others, perhaps you should learn basic spelling. Try starting with "demented" and "dumpster."

      February 8, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. LOL

    As a rich, white, straight, christian male between the ages of 25-59, this frightens and confuses me.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • EqualRights

      I'm sorry...just trying to get a little fresh air in that bubble you reside in.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris C.

    A controversial ruling out of San Francisco? Shocking.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. the_dude

    Never will be able to legislate acceptance. Only makes people hate you even more.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • banasy©

      Then you won’t mind when they legislate whatever happens in YOUR bedroom illegal…right?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • glossolalia

      I know, right? This is the exact reason I hate that we granted citizenship to black people and women the right to vote. Still mad at the meddling liberal gov't for that. I HAVE BIBLICAL QUOTES THAT PROVE WOMEN AND BLACKS ARE INFERIOR IF YOU DOUBT ME.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Happy2BeValidated

    Fabulous news, it's about time we moved in the right direction. Hopefully the Supreme Court will jump on this as fast as possible.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. R

    Its about time that the federal government just mandated that all states and the federal government recognize gay marriage. All this constant uproar over gay marriage all the time is just a waste of energy, money and time. Just get on with it already!!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Pittcat90

    Actually, Mr(?). "America4Americans," as many judges on the 9th Circuit Court were appointed by Ronald Reagan as by Obama (2 each). George W. Bush appointed 7 of the sitting judges. Before you spew hate-filled apocalyptic rhetoric, check your facts.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jim McDonald

    Thank God for this decision. This country has had lapses but recovers from government sponsored discrimination and I'm grateful that the time has come to abolish this version of inequal rights.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Gwendolyn

    We expend a lot of energy on this dumb issue. I'm really OK with letting Heavenly Father handle all this. He knows the right and the wrong of it all. My own personal views can not be used to regulate the lives of other people. I have faith that God can handle anything that humans can throw at him. Churches should stay out of state business.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • EqualRights

      Even though I disagree with your religious beliefs. You actually had a logical resonse to this. You had the right response....seperation of church and state. This is not a religious issue...this is a state issue.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      As an atheist, I appreciate your views on this issue.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    This is long, long, long overdue. It was a prime example of tyranny by the majority. Members of my family who were and are members of the military have long said that they didn't join the armed forces to defend the rights and freedoms of a select citizens, but rather the liberties of ALL citizens.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. The peoples vote

    Let me get this straight the people of America/California, came together on something and voted it illegal. The government decided they were more powerful than the voices of the people... and you call this Democracy? Who cares what the vote at hand was about, just think about what just happened here people.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • PATRIOT

      No. That's NOT how it went down.
      A SELECT GROUP of AMERICANS/CALIFORNIANS VOTED TO RESTRICT THE RIGHTS OF A MINORITY OF OUR GREATER POPULATION based on religious faith. THAT VOTE DID NOT REPRESENT THE POPULACE AT LARGE.
      That's why it was repealed.
      (Unless EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN CALIFORNIA VOTED – THAT VOTE ON SUCH AN IMPORTANT ISSUE MEANS NOTHING.)

      February 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • KillKenny

      Patriot, you have a correction. "A SELECT GROUP of AMERICANS/CALIFORNIANS VOTED TO RESTRICT THE RIGHTS". If I remember correct, every legal person who had the right to vote did. They either voted FOR, AGAINST, or even worse DID NOT VOTE. By not voting, these people did not care about the issue. SO when the population voted for the issue, they decided to pass the law (majority rule remember).

      Now I personally do care about the issue that they voted on. The issue that I have is that millions of people voted to pass a law, only to have 3 people later to decided that they have greater power over millions of people's voices. We tell everyone that your voice counts, that they need to vote. This is American and Voting is a Freedom that people come here and die for. But at the end of everything, their voiced does not mean jack. Because 3 judges decided that the people voice means nothing. That is the problem.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Sorry Kill but a certain piece of paper ensures that the minority are protected from the voting will of the majority.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Democracy is that we vote for our representatives in congress and for the president in the executive branch. We even get to elect many judges directly. That is democracy. A free-for-all and rule-by-opinion of the masses is NOT what this country has to offer. Get a clue as to what our form of government actually is, and why that benefits you!

      February 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PATRIOT

    THANK GOD FOR LEVEL THINKING!!! Equal rights. Equal rights. Equal rights. Period.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      How do you feel about Polygamy? Think they should have equal rights also?

      February 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      If they want to campaign for it Paul then go for it, I dont have an opinion either way on the matter.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      You know Paul, this is not about polygamy. You'll have to work that one out somewhere else. This is about two people being able to do what is already legal. Marry. It's about how some people want to tell other people that they can't have the same privileges. That would be people like you telling people like me which person I can or can't marry.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. HarvardLaw92

    A somewhat muddled ruling, in which they have gone out of their way to attempt to limit the ruling to California, but may have inadvertently opened the door to it applying to the entire 9th Circuit (as it should ...)

    February 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. ray

    Sorry, Martin but you are mistaken. First, Adam & Eve are mythic characters in ONE culture's tales of how things began. If you want to live your life according to your understanding of the Bible, you are still able to do so. Your understanding of the Bible has no relevance or bearing on anybody else's life (unless they voluntarily choose to let it).

    February 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. klaps

    Black people got equal rights and now it's the era for gay rights. Equality means diversity.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rose

      Being gay is a lifestyle. Black people is a race. There's no comparison. How dumb. God made woman for a man.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You act like it is a switch one can turn on and off.
      Wrong.
      It’s citizens comprised of a whole demographic of taxpayers who are getting their rights as a US denied

      February 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • EqualRights

      @Rose....you belong in the 12th century hun. Please please get out of you bible, turn off Fox News and join our century....or just die off.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "Being gay is a lifestyle"

      no more than being hetero is.
      also funny how you mention god and accuse others of being dumb.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Rose, Apparently god made man for man too. And woman for woman. Otherwise, based on your logic, we would not exist.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doobie Wah

      *** God made woman for a man....

      Like a piece of property to be used at will ?

      February 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
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