Federal Court Strikes Down California’s Proposition 8!

Dear Commons Community,

A federal appeals court panel struck down a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in California.   The 2-to-1 ruling upheld a 2010 decision by Judge Vaughn Walker, which declared the marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, unconstitutional. Like Judge Walker, the court panel found that the antigay initiative, which was narrowly approved by California voters in 2008, violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples.  A New York Times editorial celebrating the ruling stated:

“The panel rejected arguments that Proposition 8 advanced California’s interests in promoting childbearing and “responsible procreation,” noting that it had no impact on the rights of same-sex couples in the state to raise children or adopt. Drawing heavily on a 1996 Supreme Court ruling that overturned an antigay initiative in Colorado on equal protection grounds, the panel found the initiative violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by singling out a minority group and taking away the right to marry, which it already possessed in California, “without a legitimate reason for doing so.”

Proposition 8 served only 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,” wrote Judge Stephen Reinhardt. He said, “the Constitution simply does not allow for” such laws.”





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