California’s voter-approved measure sought to strictly define marriage as only between a man and a woman, thereby negating a 2008 ruling that from the state’s Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage.
CNN reports :
In February, a three-judge panel of that court ruled [Prop. 8] unconstitutional. In their split decision, the panel found that Proposition 8 “works a meaningful harm to gays and lesbians” by denying their right to civil marriage in violation of the 14th Amendment.
Backers of the proposition had asked for a larger panel of judges to rehear the case. In a seven-page order Tuesday, the court refused.
The parties now have 90 days to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. In the meantime, a stay on same-sex marriages in California will remain in place until the issue is exhausted in the courts.
Read the complete court ruling here.
Today’s order is yet another federal court victory for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in California and around the nation,” said AFER co-founder Chad Griffin. “The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now begun. Should the United States Supreme Court decide to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision in our case, I am confident that the Justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.” On February 7, 2012, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit concluded that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Ninth Circuit panel majority held: "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. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”
Reaction from Human Rights Campaign
Once again, a federal court has affirmed that the cherished guarantees of our Constitution are there to protect all Americans – including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For over three years, the plaintiffs, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies have shown tremendous fortitude and perseverance in their fight for marriage equality. With today’s announcement, we are one step closer to ensuring that gay and lesbian Californians – and, one day, our entire community nationwide – are able to join the institution of marriage and have their love and commitment respected equally.
Reaction from Marriage Equality USA
The momentum for the freedom to marry seems unstoppable. Three weeks ago, the President of the United States announced his support for marriage equality. Last week, the 1st Circuit Federal Court of Appeals held that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. And today, the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals upheld its earlier decision striking down Proposition 8. Nationwide polls have shown majority support for the freedom to marry for the last two years, and Californians now favor marriage equality by a 59 – 34 percent margin, according to the latest polling.
Reaction from National Center for Lesbian Rights
Today’s refusal by the Ninth Circuit to grant further review is a testament to the meticulous and well-reasoned opinion originally issued by the Court. While the supporters of Proposition 8 will now seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court, there is no doubt that they are on the wrong side of history. Excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry runs counter to our highest ideals of equality and fairness.