9th Circuit Court of Appeals: Prop 8 Is Unconstitutional

Earlier today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released its ruling that California’s Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, is unconstitutional, as reported by ThinkProgress.

Here are some snippets from the ruling as released from Judge Stephen Reinhardt:

– All Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same-sex couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation of ‘marriage,’ which symbolizes state legitimation and social recognition of their committed relationships. 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 Constitution simply does not allow for “laws of this sort.”

– 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.

– That designation [of marriage] is important because ‘marriage’ is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not.

– A law that has no practical effect except to stip one group of the right to use a state-authorized and socially meaningful designation is all the more “unprecedented” and “unusual” than a law that imposes broader changes, and raises an even stronger “interference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected.”

Naturally, there’s already speculation that this case will make its way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which also means that the judges will likely not lift the stay on Walker’s ruling. This will prevent same sex marriage from continuing in the state until the matter is fully resolved.

Even so, I’m hopeful. I posted about this possibility back in November, where I talked about the likelihood of the Supreme Court ruling that banning gay marriage would be unconstitutional.

It’s small steps, people. But we are making progress.

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