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. America4Americans

    Perhaps when this nation incurs Gods wrath will these activist "Obamanation" judges will see that the only way for our nation to move forward is through HIM. There will be a reckoning in 2012 and we will finally have a true follower of CHRIST in the White House.

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

      I'm an American, I'm not religious, and I support the rights of people to live their lives as they see fit, straight or not, religious or not. Are you for me or not, "America4Americans?"

      "It neither pics my pocket nor breaks my leg"

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

      Absolute nonsense. Total rubbish. Beyond ridiculous.

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

      Not sure what this ruling has ANYTHING to do with Obama.

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

      Isn't God's wrath supposed to come 12/22/12? Don't forget the Lord walked around with 12 guys.

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

      Because Jesus was all about getting into gay peoples' faces and telling them how to live their lives. The five gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and HateTheGays) all say the same thing. Keep up the good work @America4Americans. Jesus would be proud of your purity of spirit.

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

      You are aware that this is a nation with freedom of religion, and that there is supposed to be a separation between church and state, yes? This country was founded on keeping religion out of politics, and it should stay that way.

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

      Crazy much? Looks like you other option is a Mormon. Sucks to be you.

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

      obvious troll is obvious

      February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mortalc01l

      Blah, blah, God, blah blah Jesus, blah blah, Caucasian blue eyed invisible Man in the sky; blah, blah, we want a WHITE Man back in the White House, blah, blah insert thinly veiled racist remark here.... Blah, blah, Gays are Stan's spawn because my idiotic book of fairytales tells me so, blah, blah, Gays can't reproduce, therefore they are an abomination in the eyes of the invisible Man in the sky....

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

      I pray that you are right.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • No

      No he won't, I'll bet you a million dollars he won't

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

      Funny how they are always activist judges when you dont like the outcome.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon Says

      Didnt you tell us that Massachussetts was going to burn in hell,
      or fall into the ocean ?
      Its still here, we are doing just fine.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. john b

    Also can anyone have an argument that is not based on an outdated bible quote? I mean either you follow the bible completely or you just that narrow minded and choose what you like to say?

    February 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Duane

    Good, glad they decided right

    February 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. t3chsupport

    And that's why we keep religion out of politics... try to, anyway. This has nothing to do with the bible, or reproduction. People can reproduce fine when they are not married, and are not obligated to when they are.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SMJR

    So a vote by the people put a ban on gay marriage....the gays didn't like it so it went to the courts and is over-ruled??? What is the point of having a vote???

    February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Zimmerman

      Civil rights can never be voted on.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairplay99

      I agree, or why bother to have the House of Representatives either. They do not represent the majority opinion very well.

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

      There were TWO. TWO votes from the people.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom-ay

      yes, because the same thing happened with interaccial marriage... and the courts overturned that too... is that bad?

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

      Doesn't matter if 99% of people vote in that way if there is no rational basis for the state to deny the equal protection of the laws to an entire class of citizens.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wo0F

      Human rights are not up for a vote.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • jm6605

      it would be just like if the "straights" didnt like something the "gays" voted for the "straights" would go to court about it....its called having a PASSION IN WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN AND FIGHTING FOR IT!!!!!!

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

      Voting isn't everything. People could vote to allow slavery, under your argument.

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

      Some people used to think slavery was good and voted for it. That didn't make it right.

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

      What's the point of having a vote if it goes to court? *cough* Bush v. Gore *cough*

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

      Funny, something tells me you didn't have a single complaint when Al Gore won the popular vote, and the presidency was still given to GWB.

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

      The point is checks and balances. If the majority got their way in every instance then the minority would forever been suppressed. I.E slavery, women having less rights etc. would have never ended. Just because you have the majoriy doesn't give you the right to oppress those who don't.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max

      There should never have been a vote, that's the point. You can't vote on civil rights, the majority will ALWAYS vote to oppress the minority.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMJR

      I didn't get into the Bush thing, and I am not really complaining here, just seems that votes really don't hold any value....its fine that they want to get married, just seemed like a wasted slot on the ballot for Californians....I guess that is why I really don't vote, either way, I am going to do what I want....LOL...I can't let another person vote affect on the way I am going to live my life....I take personal responsibility in the way my life turns out, I can't blame the president, congress, employers, banks...etc...got to find a way to make positive of a bad situation, sitting around complaining gets no where....

      February 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • iamareu

      The judiciary branch exists as one of three branches of government to help provide balance. Remember, we live in a democratic republic, not a pure democracy. That means, the will of the people doesn't always prevail, particularly when other laws (the 14th amendment in this case) are violated.

      Let me simplify, majority vote doesn't equal lawful and/or just. Good decision by the courts...regardless of your affinity.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason Guy

      what if the people voted to kill all blacks or to ban white and black marriage? Should we just say, well the people voted.. Don't be ignorant in a modern cultured humane world! Gheez

      February 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Esprix

      Google "tyranny of the majority" for your answer.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MashaSobaka

    Finally, something to celebrate! 🙂

    February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fairplay99

      I don't think so

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

      I just poured out my coffee and opened a beer......

      CHEERS CALIFORNIA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. martin

    @TODD, its sad that you actually beleive that. i feel sorry for you man, let me guess. you smoke pole right?

    February 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 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 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • America4Americans

      I can see how that wouldn't be necessarily a bad thing lol

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

      I wonder what the Secret Service would have to say about your threat to federal judges?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeshua

      Purge the country of unbelievers and apostates, just like the founding fathers envisioned. Who knows @America4Americans may fail to meet the exacting specifications of the Revolutionary Committee and end up on the pyre along with the gays he hates so much.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carrie

    Does this have any implications for the Defense of Marriage act?

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

    The will of the people be damned!!!

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

      When that will is discriminatory, absolutely! This is how civil rights are gained by people who should have had them all along.

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

      I Vote to put Jack in jail.
      If i get enough votes, you are going to jail jack.
      Hows that for democracy ?

      Thank god we have a republic.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rosita

    EXCELLENT NEWS......... glad to hear, hurray for lesbians and gays!! you all deserve to be happy!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cmxsmitty

    Absolutely fantastic news!

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

      I couldn't agree more. Now the Supreme Cout will be forced to hear this case and once and for all determine states have EVERY right to not recognize gay "marriage".

      The will of the people has been silenced for far too long on this topic.

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

      Jack, I saw what you did there.
      You’re wrong.
      Sorry

      February 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      We shall see, banasy. We_shall_see.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Coflyboy

    I am not gay; but you, the bible, the government, etc., should stop telling others how to live their lives. Whether or not YOU approve is of no interest to anyone.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mouse

    SMJR...the reason we have the courts is so one group cannot hold down another...so yes, if the law is unfair the Supreme Courts should look after all it's people not one hate group. Remember that not only can christian's not agree with each other but not all are christian's.

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

      how can you call them a hate group just because they voted against gay marriage??? I am sure some people do hate gays and voted to ban gay marriage. See that is the problem, I am from Portland, Or, huge gay city, and if people don't agree with there views on gay marriage or rights...etc, they put those people into a hate group. So all the people who voted for John McCain must be racist...Also, I see on this forum or comments section that just because someone doesn't agree with gay marriage, they get marked as a bible thumper....I am sure gays don't like be singled out as immoral, or fudge packers, or muff divers....at the same time the gay community should respect other peoples thoughts, just as straight people should respect gay peoples thoughts when it comes to these topics. That is why it is called an opinion...you don't have to agree with it, but should respect it to a point unless it is utterly offensive...

      February 7, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Johnson

    What a great decision. Soon we will be legal in every State and the bigots will just have to either come out of the closet or keep quiet.

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