Prop 8 struck down; decision has no legal holds in Minn.

In November, the state will vote on adding a constitutional amendment making same-sex marriage illegal.

by Evelina Smirnitskaya

 

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

Although the case may wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court, it has no direct implications for Minnesota, where debate is heating up over similar legislation.

In November, Minnesotans will vote on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in the state through two statutes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a lower courtâÄôs decision that ruled the California law unconstitutional.

That ruling doesnâÄôt really apply to Minnesota, said Marie Failinger, Hamline University School of Law professor.

The decision is likely, however, to add heat to the amendment debate, as well as help fundraising, she said.

âÄúThere will be people on both sides who feel itâÄôs more urgent now to either pass or defeat that amendment,âÄù she said.

If the case makes it to the Supreme Court âÄî and the court upholds the Ninth DistrictâÄôs decision âÄî at most, it might spur lawsuits against the current statutes in Minnesota, said Dale Carpenter, a University of Minnesota Law School professor of civil rights and civil liberties.

âÄúIn some ways, the result today suggests that Minnesotans ought to leave the Constitution alone if they want to keep courts out of this issue,âÄù he said.

According to Failinger, the only case challenging bans of gay marriage in Minnesota yielded little result. In 1971, two male University students sued the state after the city of Minneapolis denied them a marriage license. The trial court dismissed their claim, and that decision was upheld by the stateâÄôs Supreme Court.

âÄúThe high courts of the state have been conservative on this,âÄù Failinger said.

Jake Loesch, a spokesman for Minnesota United for All Families âÄìâÄì an organization opposing the proposed marriage amendment âÄìâÄì said that although the ruling on Proposition 8 doesnâÄôt change anything about Minnesota law, it does suggest that conversation on the issue will continue.

 

âÄîThe Associated Press
contributed to this report.