Federal appeals court to rule on motion in Prop 8 marriage equality case


Staff Reports

SAN FRANCISCO — The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced Monday that it will issue a ruling in the request by the anti-gay groups supporting Proposition 8 whether it will grant an en banc review or deny it.

Such a review would require judicial evaluation by the full Court of Appeals, and would likely include approximately a dozen appellate judges.

Should the court deny the request, Prop. 8 backers could then appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court setting the stage for a national decision on marriage equality for same-sex couples.

A three-judge panel of the court agreed in February with U. S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker‘s 2010 decision, that ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.

​In the 2 to 1 decision handed down on Feb. 7, the panel noted that the rights at issue concerned the ability of voters to withdraw the right to marry from same-sex couples in California was to withdraw from LGBT people the protection of laws prohibiting discrimination.

[…] “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”

​[…] “Laws may be repealed and new rights taken away if they have had unintended consequences or if there is some conceivable affirmative good that revocation would produce,” noted the majority, “but new rights may not be stripped away solely because they are new.”

Decrying the 3 judge panel’s ruling, the proponents of Prop. 8 sought an en banc review.

An attorney for the plaintiffs said that he thought that the Ninth Circuit majority will most likely write as narrow a decision as possible to minimize the likelihood that the Supreme Court would review the decision.

If an en banc review is denied, then same-sex marriages in California could resume.

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