Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Proposition 8 Unconstitutional

I first learned of the decision affirming Judge Walker's decision that Proposition 8 violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution while at work. Since then, pretty much everyone has opined. The nutshell? Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution, according to this court. This decision is limited to California. This court case will likely be brought before the full circuit or appeal to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Proposition 8 is active and California gay and lesbian couples are unable to obtain marriage licenses in that state.

Think Progress summarized the decision:
– All 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 of ‘marriage,’ which symbolizes state legitimation and social recognition of their committed relationships. Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for “laws of this sort.”

– The People may not employ the initiative power to single out a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the right to marry.

– That designation [of marriage] is important because ‘marriage’ is the name that society gives to the relationship that matters most between two adults. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name of ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not.

– A law that has no practical effect except to strip one group of the right to use a state-authorized and socially meaningful designation is all the more “unprecedented” and “unusual” than a law that imposes broader changes, and raises an even stronger “interference that the disadvantage imposed is born of animosity toward the class of persons affected.”
Newt Gingrich:
Court of Appeals overturning CA’s Prop 8 another example of an out of control judiciary.
The United Church of Christ:
Leaders of the United Church of Christ today (Feb. 7) applauded the ruling handed down by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals calling California’s “Prop 8” unconstitutional.

"We are thankful for the important step that has been taken toward marriage equality with the overturning of Proposition 8," said the Rev. James Moos, executive minister of the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries. "While we still have work to do, we can proceed with renewed vigor in our quest for justice..."

"I applaud the court’s ruling. It honors all families in our communities and is an important step for equality and justice for everyone," said the Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, the UCC's executive for LGBT concerns. "This ruling is not about what religious institutions have to do, it is about the role of the state to treat all of its citizens fairly and equally, and the importance of respecting religious liberty. Same-sex couples should have the right to marry because it is the only way to honor religious liberty. Many of our United Church of Christ pastors and congregations perform religious marriage rites for same-sex couples, and do so out of their theological convictions. This in no way inhibits others from refraining to do so out of their own convictions. It is not the role of government to interfere and deny anyone this basic right based on gender..."

In 2005, the UCC's General Synod approved a resolution that affirmed its support for same-gender marriage equality. The UCC's Southern California-Nevada Conference and Northern California-Nevada Conference were among the earliest advocates for the General Synod action. Both Conferences had actively opposed Prop. 8...

"Justice is served when we end discrimination and provide equal protection under the law for everyone," the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, UCC general minister and president, said at the time. "I join those in our churches and the communities we serve who also praise this decision for what it means to them, their families and our society."
Mitt Romney:
Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.
Lambda Legal:
The tide is not turning; it has turned.
Maggie Gallagher:
Ninth Circuit to 7 Million California Voters: You Are Irrational Bigots.
NOM's Brian Brown:
As sweeping and wrong-headed as this decision is, it nonetheless was as predictable as the outcome of a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition game. We have anticipated this outcome since the moment San Francisco Judge Vaughn Walker’s first hearing in the case. Now we have the field cleared to take this issue to the US Supreme Court, where we have every confidence we will prevail.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, channeling President Barack Obama:
(President Obama) has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples.
The fight isn't over. The case has a few more steps to go before it's settled and even then it likely won't be settled. Gay people will continue to fight for our families and others will continue their crusade against our marital rights, responsibilities, and protections. Either way, it's been an exciting day!

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