Nearly one and a half years since Federal District Court Judge Vaughn Walker declared Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional in the landmark Perry v. Brown case, the 9th US District Circuit Court of Appeals finally announced this morning that they will beupholding Judge Walker’s decision: PROPOSITION H8 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!
Opponents of same-sex marriage will likely file an appeal to the decision, and the next steps may inevitably lead to a hearing before the US Supreme Court; casting the national spotlight on California’s fight for the freedom to marry and putting the focus on same-sex marriage at a federal level. Most importantly, today’s rulings open up the door for the same arguments to be used to the benefit of advancing pro-same-sex marriage legislation in other states.
What does this mean in the now? When can same-sex couples in California begin to get married again? The imposed stay on permitting same-sex marriages will likely stand in anticipation of further appeals; but we will update this page as more information becomes available.
For now, we must celebrate this huge advance for gay rights and continue this year’s momentum of the positive forces for change we’ve seen in places like Washington state, Delaware, Hawaii, and of courseNew York. This is an incredible day for couples not only in California but across the United States, and we will continue to share the details of what this decision means as we learn more.
In addition to ruling on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, there were two more issues for the 9th Circuit to rule on. First, they were to decide whether or not Prop 8 Supporters have the standing under federal law to appeal Judge Walker’s decision: they have ruled they do, mirroring the California Supreme Court’s decision this past November. Second, the 9th Circuit had to decide if Judge Ware (who took over for the now retired Judge Walker) was correct in denying a motion from Prop 8 supporters that would overturn Judge Walker’s decision based on the the revelation that Judge Walker failed to disclose he was in a committed same-sex relationship himself. The 9th Circuit has ruled that Judge Ware was indeed in the right and dismissed the motion to vacate, reaffirming that Judge Walker’s relationship has no bearing on the merit of his decision.
In the meantime, one of the most important notions to gain from today’s victory is that there is promise, there is hope, and that with enough perseverance and patience, we can achieve the equal rights we deserve. We need to focus on figuring out what each of us can do from here to help the movement in our own way. Everybody has their own way of speaking out, and we have to celebrate those differences and encourage people to bring their own personal talents to the table. We want full recognition of equal rights for everybody on a federal level, and all of us are going to have to work together to do it!
So many people and organizations, particularly AFER, have played such a pivotal role in this historic decision. The NOH8Campaign was born out of the passage of Prop 8, and we’re proud to be a part of the fight. Even still, we couldn’t do what we do without such incredible dedication and help from each of you in the community. If not for your support, NOH8 would have never made it past California — and here we are, three years later, having been to three countries and well over half of the United States spreading our message of hope and acceptance. Prop 8 was just the beginning; we will continue to fight and advocate for those without a voice until everybody is equal.