A federal appeals court in California ruled Tuesday to not revisit an earlier decision it made calling the state's gay marriage ban proposition "unconstitutional." Backers of Proposition 8, which passed in 2008, confirmed they would take the case to the Supreme Court, a path they had hoped to avoid.
Prop 8 supporters asked an "en banc" panel of judges to review the findings. To be heard, a majority of the 25 judges would have had to vote in favor of revisiting the decision, which they did not.
In February, the court ruled Prop 8 to be unconstitutional, citing it took away a right homosexual couples in California previously enjoyed. Gay marriage was legal briefly in the state before the proposition was passed.
Three of the judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco dissented. The ruling will no be allowed to stand for 90 days to allow for a Supreme Court appeal.
This victory for the California LGBT community comes just a week after a Massachusetts court found their own state's legislation banning gay marriage as discriminatory against homosexual couples. This ruling will likely also push the Massachusetts legislation to the Supreme Court as well.
Meanwhile, the February California ruling stated "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...The people may not employ the initiative power to single out a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the right to marry."
The Supreme Court is seen widely to be split 4-4 on the issue of gay marriage legalization, with Justice Anthony Kennedy acting as the deciding vote. A Supreme Court review of the issue of gay marriage is expected as early as next year.
by RTT Staff Writer
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