The Ninth Circuit has finally released its long awaited ruling on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. According to the three judge panel, the amendment to the California Constitution that limited marriage to only heterosexuals violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and, as such, is unconstitutional.
As many will recall, Prop 8 was a ballot initiative and constitutional amendment passed by California voters in 2008. The proposition added an amendment to the California Constitution which provided that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
I could not be more pleased with this ruling as there is simply no legal justification for denying same-sex couples the right to marry. I suspect this is not the end as supporters of Prop 8 will likely appeal this ruling seeking an en banc review from an eleven judge panel of the 9th Circuit. In order to secure an en banc review, a majority of the 9th Circuit’s two dozen full-time justices must vote to rehear the case. Should the 9th Circuit deny the request for a rehearing before an eleven judge panel, the next likely destination will be the United States Supreme Court.
I will have more once I review the entire opinion.
**UPDATE** You can read the entire opinion here.