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)

    This is the worst news I've heard this year.

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

      It's only February 7th Mastro. There'll be a lot worse things happen come Novemeber!

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

      Mastrodamus, its ok,
      here is a hanky,
      blow real hard.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. glossolalia

    A great day for the Republican ideals of small government, staying out of marriage.
    A grim day for people who let their current opinions be influenced by a cherry-picked passage from a 2500 year old scroll.

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

      Just because we are the most technologically advanced group of people to live on the earth it doesnt mean we have all the answers for the human condition.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • glossolalia

      Very true, Paul. I would forward the idea, however, that an ancient collection of religious texts, subjected to myriad translations and politicizations contains even fewer.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. EqualRights

    This will go to the Supreme Court and the ban will finally be repealed for good. Then this will destroy DOMA and people will finally have to accept the fact that ALL americans deserve the same unalienable rights. Not just the Rich White Straight Man.

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

      Perfectly Stated!!!

      February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Happy2BeValidated


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

      What does being white have anything to do with it?

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

      We can only hope the Conservative members on the Supreme Court worry me

      February 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jake

    it's a great day for California!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    This is great news! One more step towards equality for all in America.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cedar Rapids

    yeah, everyone knows that god prefers incest, hence adam and eve, and then again later with just noah's family. Heck god was all about incest.

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

      Yeah, that’s an inconvenient truth, isn’t it?
      Oddly enough, there are people I know on this board who are okay with that…

      February 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. truth

    Jesus was gay and yet all of these christian freaks get all riled up over gay people. Over half of the priests are gay and pedophiles as well.

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

      Betcha you work with some gay people…And get you facts straight…pedophiles are not gay

      February 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Since I'm not gay

    I don't care.

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

      You should, because this is about protecting people's rights in this country regardless of how popular they may or may not be. This affects everyone, not just gay people and not just marriage.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. just curious

    i could care less on the topic. however, if electorate cast their votes for/against a topic, but the courts decided against the popular opinion – why have elections or even voters – just present a topic to a court..

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

      I'm sorry but you can not have the public Vote on denying equal rights to other Americans. This was the first time in American history that rights were actually TAKEN away from Americans. Learn facts, i know its hard sometimes.

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

      Popular vote would have upheld segregation at the time. Does that make it right?

      February 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ryan

    Hey Martin, I just wonder if you have ever decided to try thinking on your own? Though maybe you shouldn't... You are clearly very stupid.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. clis


    February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Todd

    @Martin... nope... but I'm willing to bet I'm better educated and more successful than you. I don't believe in santa claus either. Here's an idea... go pray for your god to fix it... when he does, you win. Until then just stop talking.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amandaletta

    Voters should not be allowed to vote away the rights of another group just because that group doesn't mesh with their beliefs.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    What would anyone expect from the 9th Circut court out of San Fran...Like Pelosi believing that each indiviual is responsible for their own actions (NOT) They have always had an agenda for their very left leaning views. They are known for legislating from the bench instead of following law. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Anything else is simply a partnership. America freedoms allows these folks to do what ever they like, but just because they say it how they feel does not mean we the rest of america has to accept it as the norm, because the simple fact is that it is NOT the norm, but the exception

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

      Therein lies the crux of the problem…that marriage is not solely between a man and a woman,…needless posturing that doesn’t affect your everyday life but affects many, may gay people.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Big Generator

    If you believe in the Adam & Eve story,
    we all came from incest.

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