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Marriage News Watch

Two years since Prop 8 victory: Case now headed to U.S. Supreme Court

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Today marks the two year anniversary of the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ first major legal victory. On August 4, 2010, the Federal District Court in California ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

A lot has happened since then. And now that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld that 2010 ruling, the case is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. That makes it a good time to look back at that early victory, and why the ruling sets such an important precedent.

Here is this week’s special report from Marriage News Watch:


The court’s decision laid a powerful foundation for the freedom to marry that stands throughout the federal court system.

The most crucial line comes in the conclusion of the decision. “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”

Over the course of the two week trial, the Prop 8 proponents tried and failed to show how the freedom to marry could possibly be harmful.

The court wrote, “In the absence of a rational basis, what remains of proponents’ case is an inference, amply supported by evidence in the record, that Proposition 8 was premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples.”

Obviously, that belief is insufficient grounds for a discriminatory law. As the court recognized, “fundamental rights may not be submitted to (a) vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.” The decision goes on, “Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians.”

Those quotes are conclusions of law that are based on conclusions of fact. They give our case a position of tremendous strength as we approach the Supreme Court. In its decision, the court recognizes our relationships for what they truly are.

“Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as ‘the right to same-sex marriage’ would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy —- namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.”

At the end of the day, this case isn’t just about marriage. It’s about defending freedom. Here’s AFER’s Founder Chad Griffin speaking on the day of decision:

“Today the federal court gave hope to millions of Americans throughout this country who face the sting of discrimination. Today our system of justice has said to the nation that all Americans are entitled to the same freedoms.”

At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. Thanks for watching.

Click here for LGBTQ Nation’s full coverage on Proposition 8 over the past two years, including the historic trial. →

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17 more reader comments:

  1. it needs to be decided already we are all tired of waiting

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:22pm
  2. Yeah

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:22pm
  3. Awesome!! When the Supreme court declares that all bans to same sex marriage are unconstitutional, we are going to personally send a letter to the anti-gay organization petitioning the court, thanking them for helping gay rights activists in helping to make gay marriage legal!! Marriage is a human right. Not a heterosexual privilege!! :) :)

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:23pm
  4. Everything takes time, it has to go through each of the legal steps.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:24pm
  5. about time. these bills need to go to the SCOTUS to be proven constitutional or not before they are enacted as laws.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:31pm
  6. Thomas not if we change the rules through amendment.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:33pm
  7. The Supreme Court will set us free………….Amen

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:38pm
  8. the supreme court needs to take the cases as soon as they get back in session

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 4:47pm
  9. I am concerned that the Supreme Court is too conservative now! It is a known fact that Supreme Court lags 8 years behind the executive branch.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 5:24pm
  10. What kind of attorney sends messages like this to her phone number of record to the other side? Transgender hate and sexual assault from the heart of the Hollywood film industry..sad but true..

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 5:28pm
  11. Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 5:32pm
  12. I worked under a woman who just harassed me to no end. It never came up as the fact that I was gay but never the less I know first hand what this man went through. I hope he wins his case and the two that cause all the pain is fared.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 5:36pm
  13. The “Supremes” might be conservative, but they don’t seem to be “Social Conservatives” — there was a recent ruling that seemed to go 5-4 in favor of the Liberal result, because it was the PROPER result under the rule of law.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 5:43pm
  14. equality is sexy :)

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 8:04pm
  15. Yes it is, sabrina!!!

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 9:06pm
  16. Here’s to the Supreme court making the right decision, marriage for all!

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 9:45pm
  17. I hope all 50 states have to comply.

    Posted on Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 11:35pm