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. Robert O.

    It is better late than never, and I am glad the court has finally reached the correct conclusion.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Horus

    Amazing that equality is still something people have to fight for in 2012. Good on the 9th circuit.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. robert frost

    A failed attempt to Mormonize America. Hate is not an American value. Equality IS!

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

      Tthis is great news for all of you polygamists out there!!! Why only just 2 consenting adults?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grant

    Hate gets beat by love; very nice.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mouse

    So we need to mandate people minding their own business??? So be it!!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tea Party Dem

    can we sell calif to china and payoff our debt to them?

    February 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john b

    this is good. Now divorce lawyers have more work 🙂

    I really do hope anyone who wants to marry is doing it for love and not for fun or fame. Dont need anymore Kardashians or Gingrich's life long commitments that is more open ended that Twilight jokes

    February 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Big Generator

    Another step in the right direction.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James

    What do you think a court in San Francisco was going to say?

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

      no kidding hah? hilarious.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. t3chsupport

    Phew! Didn't see how it could be otherwise, but I was worried.

    I am straight, married, and a parent. Yet still, when I saw that headline this morning that this was going on, my heart clenched with anxious anticipation. I can only imagine the frayed nerves of those who this affects the most.

    Keep strong, folks.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ol-former-marine

    Wow, the WAY overboard 9th circuit overturned Prop 8. Never saw THAT coming. Where's the E-trade baby to tell us all "I wanna show you something...this is my shocked face"...?

    February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    I am glad.
    Let people marry the people they want to.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Adam

    Oh no the gays!!! the gays want to ruin america!!! Everyday theres pickets of gays with signs from the eastboro church saying that "god hates straight people"!!!. I'll give it sixty minutes before someones grandma makes a chainmail with this line.

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

      Lmao! Now there’s a thought….

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

    Interesting how Fox News has not updated their site with this breaking news; however, other news organizations have manged to do so. Thanks for the updates CNN!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Big Generator

    Here come the bible thumpers, this should be fun.

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