Court Rules Prop 8 Unconstitutional
Posted by Krystle Hudson on Feb 10, 2012 - 12:07:28 AM
WEST HOLLYWOOD—The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of a district court and held Proposition 8, which allowed
the California Constitution to eliminate the previously allotted right of
same-sex couples to marry, violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the United
Proposition 8 is ruled unconstitutional. Photo courtesy from the city of West Hollywood.
A panel majority felt that an initiative
power was used to target a minority group and withdraw a right that is possessed without
a true legitimate reason for doing so. The court argued that The People of California violated the
Equal Protection Clause.
In May 2009, a California Supreme Court made a
ruling that upheld Proposition 8 and reinstated the ban on same-sex
marriage in California as well as put a stop to all same-sex marriages in
the state. Marriages granted during that time period, however, remain recognized.
The same panel on this case did not need to decide
whether under the U.S. Constitution same-sex couples may ever be denied the right
to marry because according to California’s statutory law pertaining to “domestic
partnership,” same-sex couples had all the rights of opposite-sex couples,
regardless of their marital status. Proposition 8’s only medium is to try to
abolish that legally significant
aspect of “marriage” which was previously recognized by the California
A panel on the case determined that by taking away the
designation of “marriage” and thus leaving in place all of the substantive rights
and responsibilities of same-sex partners, Proposition 8 could not have been
able to promote child-rearing by biological parents to encourage responsible
procreation to proceed with a safe social change to adhere the religious
liberty or control the education of school children.
The panel also concluded that Proposition 8 served no
legitimate purpose with any effect other than to lessen the status of gays and lesbians within the state of California as well as to reclassify
their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex
couples. The panel also stated that it did not consider whether same-sex
couples have a fundamental right to marry or whether states that fail to afford
the right to marry to gays and lesbians must do so.
Judge Smith wrote that he was not convinced that
Proposition 8’s withdrawing from same-sex couples the right to the
designation of marriage was not rationally related to furthering the interests
of promoting responsible procreation and optimal parenting.
The City of West Hollywood was one of the first cities
in the U.S. to pass a resolution in support of same-sex marriage. The city has
become one of the most vocal advocates for legal rights of same-sex couples and
the right to marry both in and outside its boundaries.