In a ruling that surprised no one, a three-judge panel of the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a lower court judge correctly decided that California’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and allowed his decision to stand.
Fox News is reporting the panel ruled 2-1 that the 2010 decision by an openly gay judge, Vaughn Walker, correctly interpreted the Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he ruled that the voter-approve ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and should be overturned.
“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling states.
The panel also said there was no evidence that Judge Vaughn Walker, who revealed that he was gay only after retiring from the bench, was biased and should have disclosed that he was gay before issuing his decision.
The 9th Circuit’s decision is expected to put the case one step closer to consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, it could be a while before same-sex couples can resume marrying in the state. Proposition 8’s backers plan to appeal to a bigger 9th Circuit panel and, ultimately, the Supreme Court.
“No court should presume to redefine marriage. No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people,” said Brian Raum, Senior Counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, which is a part of the legal defense team supporting Proposition 8.
Even though supporters of same-sex marriage like to say public sentiment is turning in their favor, the fact remains that when given the opportunity to vote on the matter, 63 million Americans in 31 state elections voted to preserve marriage as a union between a man and a woman. All of the states that have legalized same-sex marriage thus far did so either by judicial or legislative maneuvers.
“We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage–tried in San Francisco–turned out this way,” Raum added.
“But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court. Every pro-marriage American should be pleased that this case can finally go to the full 9th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court. The ProtectMarriage.com legal team’s arguments align with every other federal appellate and Supreme Court decision on marriage in American history.”
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