Court won't review California gay ruling

2012-06-05 21:16

San Francisco - A federal appeals court refused on Tuesday to reconsider a landmark ruling by two of its member judges that struck down California's ban on same-sex marriages.

Backers of the ban, known as Proposition 8, petitioned the full 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in February to review the decision instead of appealing directly to the US Supreme Court.

Gay marriage opponents said at the time they would go to the high court if the appeals court declined to rehear the case. They have 90 days to do so.

Same sex unions were briefly legal in California before voters passed Proposition 8 in November 2008. Due to the ongoing legal wrangling, it's unlikely the practice will resume in the state any time soon.

The 9th Circuit said a majority of its 26 actively serving judges had voted not to revisit a three-judge panel's 2-1 decision declaring the voter-approved ban to be a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians in California.

The 9th Circuit does not often agree to rehear cases, a procedure known as en banc review. Federal court rules reserve the practice for appeals that involve "a question of exceptional importance" or if the original decision appears to conflict with Supreme Court or 9th Circuit precedents.

After voters approved Proposition 8, two unmarried couples sued to overturn the ban in May 2009, and their lawsuit gave rise the next year to the first federal trial to examine if states can prohibit gays from getting married without violating the constitutional guarantee of equality.

US District Judge Vaughn Walker ultimately sided with the couples.

The ban's sponsors appealed, and the split 9th Circuit panel affirmed Walker's finding that Proposition 8 violated those civil rights. But, instead of finding any gay marriage ban would be unconstitutional, the panel limited its decision to California, saying Proposition 8 improperly took away an existing right.

Several other high-profile same-sex cases also are making their way toward the high court. A three-judge panel of the Boston-based 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals declared last week that the federal law that prohibits recognition of same-sex couples unconstitutionally denies Social Security and other federal spousal benefits to married gay couples.

  • milksopr1 - 2012-06-06 00:16

    It's good example for another courts.

  • janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-06-06 08:50

    From a legal perspective, things are definitely set to become fairer. Whether this will make any difference in the larger scheme of things, where gay teens are bullied (and driven to suicide) because of hatred, remains to be seen. I fear the age at which kids are taught to hate is unfortunately very young:

  • badballie - 2012-06-06 15:11

    Did the american public expect anything else? which part of the FEMA act or S1867 didn't they understand? the US can no longer be defined as a union of states which enforce their own laws as originally envisaged, it is a WAR zone of 5 states. Nowhere has freedom changed to dictatorship so quickly as in the US elites plans for world domination.

  • pages:
  • 1