It just might be on its way there.
The California State Supreme Court ruled today that “proponents of Proposition 8 do have standing to appeal Federal District Judge Walker Vaughn’s ruling declaring the anti-gay marriage initiative unconstitutional, even if state officials refuse to take up the matter,” as reported by ThinkProgress.
While this might sound like a negative for gay rights/marriage, this could actually force the United States Supreme Court to finally decide once and for all the constitutionality of banning gay marriage in the nation.
This case will make its way to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The three judges who make up that court will have to decide whether Prop 8 is constitutional or not. Two of those judges, Judge Stephen Reinhardt and Judge Michael Daly Hawkins are “one of the most liberal judges in the country” and “sympathetic. . .to marriage discrimination,” respectively. With these two judges on the court, it’s almost certain they will agree with Judge Walker’s ruling.
Naturally, proponents of Prop 8 will be unhappy, and the case will likely find its way to The Supreme Court. While the make up of the Supreme Court seems conservative in its majority–Justices Scalia and Kennedy appointed by President Reagan, Justice Thomas appointed by President George W. H. Bush, and Justices Roberts and Alito appointed by President George W. Bush, Justice Kennedy “has a fairly progressive streak on gay rights. Kennedy wrote the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Romer v. Evans holding that laws motivated solely by anti-gay animus violate the Constitution, and he also wrote the decision in Lawrence v. Texas holding that the government has virtually no business regulating people’s sex lives.”
This means that should the case find its way to the Supreme Court, we might just have the ruling we need–banning gay marriage is unconstitutional. This would mean all states would then be prohibited from denying homosexual couples the right to marry and allow gay married couples federal benefits previously denied.