In San Francisco today, another step in the, let's be honest here, inevitable legalization of same-sex marriage took place when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that restricted marriage to one woman and one man, is super unconstitutional:

“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.

The court upheld the decision back in 2010 by Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who basically looked at the Prop, gave us all a silent "really?" look for about ten minutes, and threw that nonsense into his shredder. Today, the judges in the 9th Circuit Court — well, two of the three anyway — agreed with Walker's decision to get rid of that nasty junk.

The 2-1 ruling's just the latest in a seemingly ever-lasting legal tennis match to determine the outcome of whether or not same-sex marriage will be allowed in California. But an end's now apparently on the horizon: backers of Prop 8 have already vowed to appeal, which would lead to a Supreme Court decision, and if you think this one's a big deal, just wait for that.

While much of the fallout from this ruling remains to be known — no one's entirely sure of the logistics of when same-sex marriages will once again take place in California, or how long until the next appeals process — today's already a giant win of a day for proponents of equality, human rights, and all things good.

Commentarium (3 Comments)

Feb 07 12 - 5:56pm
Sean Morrow

That's pretty good news.

Feb 07 12 - 6:47pm

Great news!

Feb 07 12 - 8:08pm

It's a fascinating and very narrow ruling. The court held that because Prop 8 *deprived* gays and lesbians of an existing right to marry (even though a short-lived one), it need not reach the larger issue of whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to allow same-sex marriage. All this says is that once that right exists, it can't be taken away by state constitutional amendment. It's a brilliant job by Judge Reinhardt, who is one of the most liberal on that court. He worked really hard to insulate the decision from being overturned by making it as narrow as possible.

It will be interesting to see whether the proponents seek en banc rehearing before the Ninth Circuit (i.e., more judges will review it), or petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court.