Today marks a small step forward for marriage rights. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled today that California’s Proposition 8, the amendment banning same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.
Via Shannon LC Cate at BlogHer:
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that Proposition 8 — an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage in California — is not valid under the U.S. Constitution. Such a decision implies that all such laws in other states are similarly invalid, but court watchers say the ruling was written narrowly and should be understood to apply only to California.
The amendment was approved by voters and a same-sex marriage ban went into effect in 2008. In 2009, the amendment was upheld as valid by the California supreme court. In 2010, a federal judge ruled the amendment and ban unconstitutional but placed a stay on the performance of same-sex marriages until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made its ruling — which it did today.
This is good news for the marriage rights movement, but it is not the end of the story. The “stay” on performance of same-sex marriages remains intact until the ruling is appealed or goes into effect. The case is very likely to be contested to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A decision at the Supreme Court level could render the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) moot, opening the right to marry nationwide.
Header image by Lost Albatross.