U.S. Supreme Court May Not Take On Prop 8
Legal experts say the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling is written narrowly enough that the Supreme Court might not show interest, making Tuesday’s decision the final word on Proposition 8.
"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,” Loyola law Professor Douglas NeJaime told the Los Angeles Times.
The document’s wording is limited to the state of California and based on the constitutional rights of minorities, rather than expanding rights to same-sex couples to marry. The ruling nods to a previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that stated a majority may not take away the rights of a minority without rightful cause.
“"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 as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples," the ruling reads.
The California ballot measure Proposition 8 first entered the political atmosphere in November 2008. Defining marriage to be between a man and a woman, it received the majority vote in California state elections.
Twenty-eight states have similar amendments that ban same-sex marriage and 12 others have laws that restrict unions to be between one man and one woman.
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WASHINGTON_GAY_MARRIAGE?SITE=O...)" target="_blank">Seven states and the District of Columbia permit the marriage of same-sex couples. Those include New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and most recently Washington.
While California same-sex couples celebrate the court ruling, proponents of Proposition 8 plan their appeal, arguing the voice of the voters will eventually prevail.
However, their dilemma lies in whether to immediately take it to the Supreme Court or to take it back to the 9th Circuit for another review. If majority of the circuit judges agree to rehear the case, 11 randomly appointed judges would vote for a second time.
A rehearing would allow the opponents of gay marriage to reconstruct the case to affect marriage laws in other states. If the ruling remains, the ban on same-sex marriage in California will be lifted in 21 days.
Reach Reporter Lauren Foliart here.