Appeals Court to Rule on California’s Prop 8
UPDATE: A federal appeals court in California struck down Proposition 8 on Tuesday, the controversial ballot measure passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- In the months leading up to the passage of Proposition 8 -- the controversial 2008 California ballot initiative that bans gay marriage -- some 18,000 same sex couples obtained marriage licenses.
The marriages came to a screeching halt when Prop 8 was passed with 52 percent of the vote.
On Tuesday, a federal appeals court is poised to rule on the measure. Prop 8 supporters says they are fighting for the traditional definition of marriage. Opponents argue that Prop 8 violates constitutional rights.
In 2010 U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker struck down Proposition 8, ruling that it “both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Tuesday, before reaching the constitutional question, the panel of three judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will have to decide whether to vacate Walker’s decision because he failed to disclose at the time of the Prop 8 trial that he had been involved in a long term same sex relationship, although he was not married. Supporters of Prop 8 argue Walker had a vested interest in the outcome of the case.
The court will also decide whether the supporters of Prop 8 have the legal right to defend the law in court after California’s public officials declined to do so. If the court finds that the supporters of Prop 8 have the necessary “standing,” the court will then decide whether it is constitutional.
Currently six states and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same sex couples: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and the District of Columbia.
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