Federal court rules California’s Prop. 8 unconstitutional

by Kyle Potter

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that California’s controversial Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state, was unconstitutional.

The case may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to the Associated Press. Since Proposition 8 passed on the 2008 ballot with 52 percent of the vote, it has wound its way through several different courts.

In its 2-1 ruling upholding a previous court’s decision that declared it unconstitutional, the Ninth U.S. District Court of Appeals said that the ballot measure violated the civil rights of those who are gay or lesbian.

“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 said.

When it passed, Proposition 8 came in response to a California Supreme Court decision five months prior. The court struck down state laws that banned same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, thereby legalizing the practice.

Proponents of the measure indicated that they will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage — tried in San Francisco — turned out this way,” said Brian Raum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a group that helped defend Proposition 8.“But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court.”