February 7, 2012; Source: LA Times | On Tuesday court voted to reverse California’s voter-passed Proposition 8 (commonly known as Prop 8), which barred same-sex couples from marrying. The court was divided two to one, with two appointees nominated by Democratic presidents voting in favor of lifting the ban. According to the LA Times, California voters “stripped a minority of a right that already
existed and where the usual justifications for a same-sex marriage ban, responsible parenting and procreation, are undercut by domestic partner laws.”
Prop 8’s supporters have vowed to keep up the fight. And gay rights supporters are celebrating what has turned out to be a back and forth match that has landed on their side. After the decision, hundreds of LGBT and LGBT-supportive residents gathered in West Hollywood to celebrate the ruling, according to The Advocate, which spoke with Eric Harrison, executive director of Love Honor Cherish, a group formed in 2008 to repeal Proposition 8.
“We’re really optimistic and hopeful that the decision will mean that [California] gays and lesbians will be able to marry within the next few weeks,” Harrison said.
However, the court’s decision merely found that it was unconstitutional to take away the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians—not that gay marriage should be legal, making it less likely that this ruling will force the Supreme Court to address the issue of same-sex marriage. Douglas NeJaime, a law professor at Loyola University, said “The 9th Circuit decided the case in a way that would allow the Supreme Court to affirm without having to significantly expand on its existing jurisprudence and without having to rule on marriage for same-sex couples on a national scale.”
A more wide-reaching decision, some analysts say, might have forced President Obama to take a stronger position on same-sex marriage. Obama hasn’t taken a bold stance on the issue, saying that his position is still “evolving.” In that sense, the president’s position now looks very much like that of the federal court that ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional.
What do you think of this ruling? –Kristin Barrali