Gay marriage fans, foes expect Prop 8 appeal ruling today

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will issue its ruling today on whether Proposition 8, which overturned legalized same-sex marriage in California in 2008, stands or falls.

Expect “mayhem” — and more appeals, NBC’s Bay Area site says.

After Proposition 8 was challenged by gay couples seeking to marry, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled the ballot measure a violation of the Constitution’s equality guarantee. That August 2010 decision is the focus of the appeal, brought by proponents of Prop 8.

Under all the legalese is a fundamental clash of values.

Walker’s Prop 8 opinion offered a portrait of 21st century marriage. After examining how several major religious groups condemn either homosexual identity or behavior or both, Walker spelled out in all capital letters in the decision:

A PRIVATE MORAL VIEW THAT SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE INFERIOR TO OPPOSITE-SEX COUPLES IS NOT A PROPER BASIS FOR LEGISLATION…California’s obligation is to treat its citizens equally, not to “mandate [its] own moral code.”

Walker said, essentially, ‘Believers, it’s not about you.” more

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  • Mercury News

    By Howard Mintz
    Posted: 02/06/2012 03:38:01 PM PST
    Updated: 02/06/2012 09:07:17 PM PST

    Feb 6:
    California gay wedding ban ruling due Tuesday in Proposition 8 case

    A federal appeals court on Tuesday will hand down its long-awaited ruling on the legality of Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

    It is likely to be a crucial step toward pushing the gay marriage issue to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether to agree with former San Francisco Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who declared the law unconstitutional in 2010. The court also will consider a move by Proposition 8 backers to set aside Walker’s ruling because he did not disclose he was in a long-term same-sex relationship while handling the case.

    Here are some of the basic questions surrounding Tuesday’s outcome:

    more at link

  • California gay marriage ban struck down, appeals court cites equal rights

    By Howard Mintz
    Posted: 02/07/2012 10:06:47 AM PST

    By striking down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, a divided federal appeals court on Tuesday became the first in the nation to conclude a state has no compelling social or legal justification for denying gay and lesbian couples the right to wed.

    The ruling draws the U.S. Supreme Court closer than ever into the gay marriage fray.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals emphatically declared voter-approved Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional. But its 2-1 ruling revealed a deep split in judicial philosophy over a state’s ability to forbid same-sex marriage, offering a preview of the possible Supreme Court debate to come.

    In the interim, same-sex weddings in California are not expected to resume while Proposition 8 backers press forward with plans to appeal.
    The decision upheld former San Francisco Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who invalidated Proposition 8 in 2010 after an unprecedented trial.

    Gay rights advocates rallied behind Tuesday’s ruling, conservatives from family values groups to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney decried it and legal experts predicted it would face equal division whenever it reaches the Supreme Court.

    “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,” wrote Stephen Reinhardt, one of the nation’s most liberal judges, who was joined by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins.

    In his dissent, N. Randy Smith, a conservative appointee of former President George W. Bush, concluded California has a constitutional basis to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and woman. He wrote there were “legitimate governmental interests” in banning gay marriage, such as arguments it promotes procreation and is better suited to raising children.

    The distinction is crucial because any government-imposed restrictions on a particular group must be supported by “rational” reasons to be constitutional.

    Proposition 8 backers can now ask the 9th Circuit to rehear the case with an 11-judge panel, or proceed directly to the Supreme Court. Either way, same-sex marriages will await the legal process, with further appeals likely to stretch at least into next year.


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