Perhaps Prop 8 doesn’t mean much to the inexperienced, but for those highly involved in the matter it’s been a long and emotional ride. The Prop 8 refers to California’s gay marriage ban and opponents have been fighting to get a court to cancel it. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had released the Prop 8 ruling saying it is unconstitutional.
California’s Proposition 8, a ballot initiative that caused a lot of turmoil both in the gay community and the civil rights circles, has been ruled as unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, marking a sturdy victory for human rights. The Washington Post writes that the “decision could lead to the Supreme Court’s consideration of the controversial social issue”.
U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt said that 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”. He ended his statement saying that “The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort”.
The Prop 8 ruling regarding its constitutionality was divided on a 2-1 vote, as Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Hawkins outvoted Judge N. Randy Smith. With two Republican appointed judges in the panel, it’s quite a surprise the ban was annulled. Judge Michael Daly Hawkins was appointed by President Bill Clinton, while President George W. Bush appointed Judge N. Randy Smith. Stephen Reinhardt is considered one of the most liberal appellate judges in the U.S.
The court focused more on the fact that same sex marriages were legal for a brief time in the state of California and that the ban was directly impacting that. The court considered that the ban was targeting a minority group and withdrawing “a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so” and ruled that “the people of California violated the Equal Protection Clause” of the federal constitution.
In 2008, California’s Proposition 8 banning of the same sex marriage has been approved by 52 percent of the voters in the state and had even amended its Constitution to ensure the marriage applies only to a man and a woman.