Deciding the case of Perry v. Brown on February 7, by a two-to-one margin, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth District declared Proposition Eight, which amended the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry, in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In his deciding opinion, Appellate Judge Stephen Reinhardt, in San Francisco, wrote, “All that Proposition 8 accomplished was to take away from same sex-couples the right to be granted marriage licenses and thus legally to use the designation 'marriage,' which symbolizes state legitimization and societal recognition of their committed relationships. Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California. The Constitution simply does not allow for ‘laws of this sort.’”
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force hailed this “historic ruling” as “a huge victory in the battle for marriage equality.” The Courage Campaign Institute warned, “Our opponents are certain to appeal today’s decision to the full 9th Circuit and/or the U.S. Supreme Court. This victory belongs to all of us and MUST be defended by all of us.” Marriage Equality New York said that it “applauds the Court’s decision and will continue to press for full marriage equality in California and across the nation.”