A federal appeals court refused Tuesday to revisit the divisive issue of same-sex marriage in California, months after judges gave gay and lesbian couples constitutional blessing to wed.
In February, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8, California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, unconstitutional. In a split decision, the panel found that Proposition 8 "works a meaningful harm to gays and lesbians" by denying their right to civil marriage in violation of the 14th Amendment.
But backers of the proposition asked for a larger panel of judges to rehear the case.
With the full appeals court declining to rehear the panel's decision, supporters of the ban could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court - something they have previously said they are willing to do.
The February three-judge appeals court panel ruling upheld a 2010 decision by a U.S. district judge in San Francisco. However, in the appeals court decision, Circuit Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Daly Hawkins said that they were speaking only to Proposition 8, and that states would have to decide the marriage issue themselves.FULL STORY