Over 3 years ago, voters in the U.S. State of California narrowly passed Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The amendment had added the following clause to their state’s constitution: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” I had expressed my dismay back then.
Proposition 8 was of course challenged, and after being upheld in May 2010 by the California Supreme Court, U.S. Federal Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned it in August 2010. This was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
The latest development happened on February 7, 2012, when the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the overturning of Prop 8. In a 2-1 decision, the judges of the Ninth Circuit said:
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”
“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.”
What a great piece of news! And this comes after New York passed a same-sex bill last year. Unfortunately, a stay against full repeal of the amendment still continues pending appeals to either the full Ninth District Court or the U.S. Supreme Court and that means that California still cannot issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Nevertheless, the fact that U.S. federal judges struck down Prop 8 is still good news. And just in time for Valentine’s Day!