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. Jerry

    Well done Court of Appeals, now lets hope the US Supreme Court has the sense to uphold the lower courts ruling.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • kjfuller7

      Amen, brother Jerry!

      February 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      About time this ban was struck down !!

      .

      February 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • addison

      Well we have had Arab spring, now perhaps it is time for American Spring. Hang judges and attorneys until none are left. Viva la Revolucion.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Supporter

    Just make sure the new ruling is in ink not pencil this time. You people have my full support

    February 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe M.

    Shocking! The Ninth Circuit issued a liberal ruling? I can't believe it! They've only had to be smacked down repeatedly by the Supreme Court for their past ridiculous rulings, so why not go for another one!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • RX

      Please explain how ending discrimination is ridiculous. Easy for a straight white man to say. Try living your life being discriminated against by your own country and see how it feels.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • kjfuller7

      So you believe the set of rules that apply to YOU (and individual American) do NOT apply to ME (an individual American)? That is the very definition of discrimination and it will not stand.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      How exactly is supporting the civil rights of ALL citizens a liberal/conservative issue?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason Guy

      and RX also imagine not only your Country discriminating against you, but until the ridiculous "dont ask, don tell" was abolished, also being discriminated against while serving and protecting the very Country that discriminates you, even on the front lines.. Praise God for the ruling and hope the Supreme Court makes the right choice so children in perfectly normal gay families aren't discriminated against if they loose a parent in death.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Tom

      @ Adam – I support the court's decision, and I think Joe is a bigot. But I do think it's a liberal issue if you base the definition on this;

      Liberal (adj) – favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
      – favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers.

      I'm pretty sure Joe does NOT support individual freedoms for anyone but himself.

      As for me, I'm LIBERAL, and damn proud of it. Long live liberal principals of freedom!

      February 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jason

    Good. no ones business who marries who. Worry about yourself.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeePn it REal

      TRUE! I certainly do NOT CARE who gets married to Who and who gives a DAM on what they do in BED!

      February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Just what this country needs ,more confused Kids.... This Generation is screwd up enough..

    February 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • EqualRights

      Yeah equal rights is an evil thing. Crawl back in your bubble please.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • ray

      What? What kids will be confused by eliminating discrimination?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • MashaSobaka

      Yeah, because explaining to your kid that two men or two women are in love with each other is soooooooo confusing, but questions like "Why do we need war?" and "Why can't I talk to strange men alone?" and "Why do people kill each other?" are a lead pipe cinch. Am I right?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      Who's confused? I am straight and have always been straight. What gays do should be their own business and their right as Unites States citizens. If you are confused, you are probably in denial about something.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Sounds like you're confused man... I grew up with 2 dads, and they're paying for me to complete my PhD in Chemistry. I've got a good job, a great girlfriend, a great life, and it's all because of them. I don't think I'm confused at all by the marriage between my dads.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      As a part of "this generation" I can tell you we are not screwed up, and are eagerly awaiting the day when our generation boots out your backwards generation from the seats of power. Who cares if two men or two women want to get married? There are bigger problems to deal with, thanks to your generation. I am so tired of seeing your generation bicker about trivial issues like gay marriage and race relations. It's time for sensible leadership.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rack

    Like any court in San Francisco is going to be unbiased... Especially on this topic!!!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeePn it REal

      NOW that's FUNNY!

      February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeebus $aves

    This is a bad day for religious fanatics.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • BeRational

      True. Fortunately religion is slowly dying.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth

      Good, it is one thing to believe in fairy tails like Santa and Jesus when you are little but grown adults, that is a huge indication of a mental illness.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. areacode612

    It's ridiculous how many people are gay today vs 300 years ago.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Horus

      "It's ridiculous how many people are openly gay today vs 300 years ago."

      Fixed that for you.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      It must be something in the water

      February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • J_

      maybe because of a population increase?

      maybe because more people are "out" now than before?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ray

      The relative proportion of LGBT in the general population has been fairly constant throughout history. There will always be a small minority, but we will always be here. The ONLY difference is that people are realizing it is nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to hide.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude64

      Just as many 300 years ago, thing was the closet was a ot bigger back then.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • areacode612

      @Jason, or on television. It's a behavioral issue.

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

      I think the difference is that now, you are less likely to get killed for being openly gay than before. That tends to make people a little freer about themselves.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ya'akov

      Yeah and it's ridiculous how many women have the right to vote and own property, too. Social change must be bad, because it allows people to live the way they want to and not how they are forced to by social conventions.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Tom

      High fives for Ya'akov!

      February 7, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. David in WA

    Awesome news!!! Congratulations California!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tea Party Dem

    wow, what a shocker

    February 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • BeRational

      There is no doubt the Supreme Court will rule the same way. T
      here is no logical basis for denying equal rights.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. janetlaw

    Well done....another wrong righted.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    Equality for all

    February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. truth

    Amazing we still have people that don't want blacks to marry whites, girls to marry girls and to force all their other religious fairy tails on us.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BeRational

    Religion has no place in politics.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Randy

    No surprise. The death threats coming from militant gays is what brought this decision. They use this MO with every issue they involve themselves with. These justices were only thinking of their families, even though they find in favor of EVERY liberal cause anyway.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      ok trolling right? because no one could actually be that s tupid.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • EqualRights

      Militant gays. OMG so we had the Black Panthers......I can only imagine what you will come up with. Yes only straight white men can have every right in this country while eveyone else tries to catch up......thank god people like you are slowly dying off.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Really?
      I’m throwing down the BS flag.
      Show me the evidence to support this and I may not give you a penalty.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      HAHA! You're joking, right?

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