Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative banning homosexual marriage in California, was unconstitutional on Tuesday, February 9.

This verdict upholds an earlier decision in 2010 by the now retired US district judge, Judge Vaughn R. Walker. A three-judge panel made the decision and was split 2-1.

This newest ruling was less broad then the earlier one. In this decision, the judges made clear that they weren’t addressing whether gay marriage was a constitutional right, but that Proposition 8 specifically violated the equal protection clause.

“All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation ‘marriage,’” Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt said in the decision. “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California.”

After this most recent verdict, many have speculated that this case will go to the United States Supreme Court. However, even if it does, it is unlikely that the case will be resolved by the end of this year.

Gay marriages are not currently being granted in California due to a two week stay put on them due to court proceedings.

Proposition 8 passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, outlawing gay marriage in California. Six states currently recognize same sex marriage, while another five observe civil unions.