No H8

U.S. appeals court rules Prop. 8 unconstitutional

A federal appeals court declared California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional today, saying a state can’t revoke gay rights solely because a majority of its voters disapprove of homosexuality.

In a 2-1 ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Proposition 8’s limitations on access to marriage took rights away from a vulnerable minority without benefiting parents, children or the marital institution.

“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,” said Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the majority opinion.

“The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

Prop. 8, passed in November 2008, declared marriage to be the union of a man and a woman. It repealed a May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that had legalized same-sex marriage in California.

The ban remains in effect while the case proceeds toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

Don’t start celebrating, the fat lady ain’t sung yet. But this is another step closer to the finish line.

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25 Responses to No H8

  1. DeniseVB says:

    I’m happy for the ruling, but do courts overturn voter mandates very often? If so, why put it up to the voters in the first place?

    • Jadzia says:

      Because that’s the process. Reading that sentence, it sounds kind of flip and snarky, but I don’t intend it that way. The courts won’t issue “advisory opinions,” so you’ve got to get the law passed first and then the courts can weigh in.

      (Interestingly, I learned in one of my immigration courses last week that the French “constitutional court” actually does evaluate proposed laws before they are passed. This seems a little more efficient, but I think it works better in a civil law system that is based on statutes than a UK/US common law type system where the courts follow judicial precedent.)

    • myiq2xu says:

      Legal Insurrection:

      The Court essentially used a bootstrap argument — that since there was a prior right to samesex marriage (based on a California Supreme Court decision which gave rise to Prop. 8 ) — the taking away of that right without justification violated the 14th Amendment.

      States cannot pass laws that violate the US Constitution.

      • DandyTiger says:

        Interesting. That would suggest that others states should pass similar same sex marriage laws making it hard to later undo it.

  2. Lola-at-Large says:

    Finally! This is a real civil rights ruling, not some technical mumbo jumbo that allows it without commenting on the CR aspect.

  3. votermom says:

    OT. Now the spring on the garage door broke. It’s like being held hostage. 8-0

  4. myiq2xu says:

    99-year-old divorces wife after he discovered 1940s affair

    The Italian man, identified by lawyers in the case only as Antonio C, was rifling through an old chest of drawers when he made the discovery a few days before Christmas.

    Notwithstanding the time that had elapsed since the betrayal, he was so upset that he immediately confronted his wife of 77 years, named as Rosa C, and demanded a divorce.

    Guilt-stricken, she reportedly confessed everything but was unable to persuade her husband to reconsider his decision.

    She wrote the letters to her lover during a secret affair in the 1940s, according to court papers released in Rome this week.

    The couple are now preparing to split, despite the ties they forged over nearly eight decades – they have five children, a dozen grandchildren and one great-grand child.

    • Jadzia says:

      The Italian side of my family can hold a grudge like nobody’s business…

      • myiq2xu says:

        The Italian press attributed the acrimonious split to the couple’s southern blood – he is originally from Olbia in Sardinia, while his wife was born in Naples.

        • Jadzia says:

          Well, that would explain it. The Italians in my family are from Calabria originally. (Although their name, which would have been my maiden name had my grandparents not modified it on arrival here, sounds much more Roma than Italian. Just one of those little family mysteries.)

  5. Jadzia says:

    I imagine the government lawyers knew they had lost the second they found out Reinhardt was on the panel…. (If not at that point, then at the latest when they saw he had written the opinion–no need to read further than that to know the outcome!)

    • myiq2xu says:

      Everybody seems to be treating this like a formality – just a necessary pit stop on the way to SCOTUS

      • Jadzia says:

        Oh, absolutely. I wonder if the gov’t will even ask for an en banc. I actually have not followed P8 all that closely, having been gone from California for a few years–are there any procedural grounds you can see by which the USSC will be able to rule and avoid the substantive issues at the same time?

        • myiq2xu says:

          They could rule that Judge Walker never should have heard the case (he’s gay) and send it back to the trial court for rehearing by another judge.

        • Jadzia says:

          I really don’t think there is any way in hell that the Walker-is-gay thing has legs. Women judges would have to recuse themselves from future abortion and sex discrimination cases, judges of color would have to recuse themselves from racial discrimination cases, etc., etc. The court is not going to go there. (Especially because the Supremes, or at least a couple of them, seem to think they never have to recuse even when they have legitimate conflicts of interest.)

  6. Jadzia says:

    Apropros of nothing… Cindy McCain is really stunning.

  7. foxyladi14 says:


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