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West Hollywood News

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 States Constitution.

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 Supreme Court.

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.


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