Proposition 8, the hotly-contested and voter-approved proposition banning same-sex marriage in California was ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court this morning. The ruling is a pivotal but not decisive turn in the ongoing fight over gay marriage; experts on both sides of the issue have long expected it to be appealed all the way to Supreme Court, which could decide as early as next year whether the nation’s gays and lesbians have the right to marry. ProtectMarriage, the sponsors of Proposition 8, took this case to the 9th Circuit after former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in 2010 that Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution, and they have stated that they plan to appeal today’s ruling. Six states, the District of Columbia and ten countries allow gay marriage, and several other states recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, although none of them are recognized at the federal level. Although the ban was struck down, same-sex marriages will not resume in California due to a stay from a lower court that left in place to allow the case to proceed through the appeals process.
Within the guidelines of the U.S. Constitution, how fair is Proposition 8, and does fairness matter? There are political repercussions, too – how might this ruling affect national strategies over same-sex marriage?
Theodore B. Olson, lead co-counsel for the American Foundation for Equal Rights; full sponsors to the Plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case.
Andrew Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com, which defended Prop 8
Bill Rosendahl, Los Angeles City Councilman (Representing Council District 11, includes Brentwood, Pacific Palisades and Venice); he is openly gay and in a relationship
Vikram Amar, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law, UC Davis School of Law