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. M1sf1ts

    Gay Coupling is NOT Marriage.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • klaps

      moron coupling is marriage though

      February 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      I actually accept that as your belief. And you certainly don't need to marry a gay person. No argument there. However, whatever you decide marriage is has nothing to do with the law or reality. It has only to do with you. I am gay, I do have a partner of nearly a quarter of a century, and I do call it marriage. You have not right to tell me what I can and can't do with my own life or what it's called. You have no right to create laws that infringe on your fellow citizens (that's me and my friends) lives while enjoying the freedom yourself.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • EqualRights

      Agree with you 100% Rob. I have been with my partner for just short of 15 years and I have seen many straight people "ruin" this supposedly holy state of marriage. Funny how hypocritcal they can be.

      February 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      If they get married, it is.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jesse

      Because hetero marriage is an example to be set ROFL! Isn't the divorce rate in the U.S. close to 60%?

      February 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steven Gaynor

    This country was founded upon the prinicple that its' inhabitants would not only have freedom of religion, but freedom FROM religion. Please stop trying to legislate from your particular interpretation of the bible. This is America, land of the FREE! You do not like that, you are FREE to leave. GOD (yes, I do believe) BLESS AMERICA!

    February 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Stop. You’re being too logical.
      Brains exploding will ensue.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. adam

    DG- the majority of people were against the world being round and interracial marriage as well. Did you agree with them too?

    February 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BobOso

    Gay marriage a simple Church/State issue. If you believe the sole power of marriage should rely in the Church, then each Church should have the right to decide. For instance, I can't get married in my church without going through marital classes. But... if you believe the State has a vested interest in marriage (property rights, child support, etc.), then you have to find a way to prevent discrimination. For those that think the courts should stay out of it and let the people decide, I would ask if they thought we should allow polygamy if the majority of one state voted for it?

    February 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      What I find amusing is that the church cannot grant a divorce…annulment is completely different.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. t3chsupport

    And that's a failure of your understanding of our politics.
    We are not just ruled by majority vote. If that were the case, we'd still be segregated. Those things could not be left to votes because they were civil rights issues, as are these. What you would prefer is mob rule.

    And when you have to explain why two men want to get married, Martin, you can just tell your kids that they love each other so much that they want to spend the rest of their life together as a family. It's really not hard when you don't teach your kids to be judgmental.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. 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 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. M1sf1ts

    I will not your accept, support, legitimize, condone, recognize, or villify your lifestyle choice. Do as you please. Gay Coupling will never be a true Marriage, regardless of any law.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      And that is YOUR opinion.
      You do not, however, have the right to trample a whole demographic of people’s rights.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon Says

      Your approval is not required.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Supporter

    I hope that we pass it here in cali, than we dont have to worry about it anymore!why cant people just live and let live? I hope they all have there rights restored!

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

    Everyone knows the right to marry should only be given to people like Newt..who then cheats on his first wife while he's having an affair and divorces her to marry the woman he was cheating on her with..to only divorce her for another woman he was cheating on and then to marry that mistress. That's what religious right republicans believe is marriage.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sawnee

    If you don't support gay people getting married...don't marry a gay person. Problem solved.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DeTamble

    Rick Santorum must have his panties in a knot.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bubba

    Well in Mississippi you can marry your brother or siststa. 😉

    February 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fernace

    Kids are alot smarter than we give them credit for! At an event last year, a person made a derrogatory comment about Black & Brown people to my young niece & she said:"Shut up! Don't even talk to me!" She was very offended & rightly so! No1 has taught her to hate, in our family, which is the only way to pass on predjudice! I'm pretty sure the kids will be Allright, it's adults who have to stop hiding behind religion & outright hatred & realize that "separate but equal" was outlawed decades ago & does not need to be resurected! I applaud this correct decision & hope it will stand up to the Surpreme Court! If not we'll sick Occupy on them!!Lol!

    February 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jon Heimer

    In the wake of many troubling court deciscions this is one that we can be thankful for.

    February 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AndreaMN

    I hope Minnesotan's are watching this and will vote against the amendment in the fall....

    February 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • miquel

      Please lets talk about more important things like the Dream Act for illegals' kids, and
      citizenship for all illegals because they do the work for 8$ an hour cheaper–Why? Cause they are illegal–How? Cause they avoid taxes, use our emergency clinics for free, and
      dont pay premiums for health insurance and claim they are not married to scoop up
      bennies to raise their kids in the way of food stamps and housing allowance. Dont
      look but the unmarried spouse is living under the same roof--an extra bennie payed for by the old gr*ngo tax payer.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
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