Prop. 8 Dismissed by U.S. Supreme Court: Gay Marriage to Return to California

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This post was written by L.A. Weekly staff writer Dennis Romero.

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage to resume in California today.

In its ruling on the state's anti-gay marriage law, the court essentially said that a "private party," the conservative backers of the law, had no standing to defend what was the people's legislation:

See also:
U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

That means the backers' appeal of Prop. 8 was dismissed by the court and sent back to a a now gay friendly California. Read the ruling here.

The decision came just minutes after the court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), resulting in a double whammy against those who would deny same-sex couples equal rights.

"Marriage equality will be the law across this land," said David Boies, an attorney who challenged Prop. 8 before the court.

In August 2010, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker found that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Backers of the measure appealed that ruling to a federal appeals court, which upheld Walker's decision in February 2012.

Then the haters took it to the U.S. Supreme Court. And even though it's technically the people of California's law, state Attorney General Kamala Harris decided not to defend it.

In fact, Harris filed a brief arguing for outlawing the proposition.

Even a group of prominent Republicans said marriage should apply to all.

Those who backed Proposition 8, however, argued for it before the high court. The L.A.-based group American Foundation for Equal Rights has spearheaded the legal challenge.

[Added at 8:04 a.m.]: The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) sounded triumphant in a statement this morning, calling the court's move "a historic victory for marriage equality."

At 5:30 p.m. AFER and other groups will participate in a "community celebration" at Santa Monica and San Vicente boulevards in West Hollywood.

Of the two couples that challenged Prop. 8, one was from the L.A. area -- Paul Katami and partner Jeff Zarrillo of Burbank.

[Added at 8:12 a.m.]: Many opponents of Prop. 8 feel that California voters were hoodwinked by a well-financed campaign for the law spearheaded in large part by the Mormon church.

Voters passed the law banning gay marriage in California in November of 2008.

[Added at 8:16 a.m.]: Christopher Street West, producer of LA Pride, and LA pride president Rodney Scott, released this statement on the Supreme Court's moves this morning:
Today, the voices of our community and our allies have been heard and Justice has prevailed. We celebrate the fact that marriage in California will soon again be an institution for all loving couples who are looking to join into a committed and loving relationship recognized by the state and protected by the law. This has been a long and emotional fight, one based on basic human rights and one based on love. This is not, nor has it ever been about special treatment for the LGBT community but about basic human rights. This is truly a day of celebration and while we should embrace this triumphant win, we celebrate knowing that there are still battles ahead in the fight for true equality.

[Added at 8:20 a.m.]: So what did the court do regarding Prop. 8? Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog explains:
After the two same-sex couples filed their challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court in California, the California government officials who would normally have defended the law in court, declined to do so. So the proponents of Proposition 8 stepped in to defend the law, and the California Supreme Court (in response to a request by the lower court) ruled that they could do so under state law. But today the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, it held, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.



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38 comments
yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

In the majority's telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us. The truth is more complicated. It is hard to admit that one's political opponents are not monsters, especially in a struggle like this one, and the challenge in the end proves more than today's Court can handle. Too bad. A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.

But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today's decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.



Justice Scalia

nojailforyou1
nojailforyou1

Today we should appreciate the United States Supreme Court Justices for making a wise decision.   Job well done.

Kelly O'Brien
Kelly O'Brien

Absolutely! It should be legal in all states not just a few. Let's get this done!

Venus Wygant
Venus Wygant

You should always be able to marry whoever you love :-)

Mikey Daniels
Mikey Daniels

someone else getting married has nothing to do with me

Rene Angel Rodriguez
Rene Angel Rodriguez

Yes I do, darn the naive and the ignorant basing their decisions out of fear.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

DOMA was biased based on sexual orientation. I'm glad the Supreme Court saw that.

Now if every state would either repeal or pass a law that supports gay marriage life would be good.

Reggievv
Reggievv

Lets get the government out of the marriage business completely. If religious groups or private groups want to call what they do "marriage" let them. Then they can all individually decide who gets "married." All government sanctions should be civil unions or civil contracts

yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

It's unfortunate that one person's decision not to do her job and defend a proposition voted in by the people was the reason for the ruling.  I would have preferred the SCOTUS had heard the case and made a decision based on the merits of the case.  Then we could put this issue to bed for good.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

It's a good day for America.


In your face, Ayatollah Herrod.

yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

 But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to con- demn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority's judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to "dis- parage," "injure," "degrade," "demean," and "humiliate" our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homo- sexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence— indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.

Justice Scalia's Dissentiing Opinion on DOMA Judgement

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Reggievv  No.  Religious groups don't get to control the word "marriage".  The government has a legitimate interest in licensing marriages, so all marriages must be government sanctioned.  If religious groups want to add another layer of rules on top of the governments, or if they want to start calling their unions something else, that's fine.

interloper
interloper

@yourproductsucksNothing in the California constitution requires the California Attorney General to defend a law that he/she believes is unconstitutional. Remember that then Attorney General Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger both declined to defend the law.

redtyger8
redtyger8

@yourproductsucks

 A decision was made today based on the merits of the case and yes as you wish, this issue will be put to bed for good very soon.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay In other words, you don't understand his views.  He actually makes a good point.  While I believe that gender should not be a factor in deciding who a person can marry, I really hate it when a decision so important is based on whether or not the people asking the question have "legal standing".

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@mellowyellow  That seems unlikely.

You don't really need to be gay to support gay rights, so his saying "Yes!" tells us much less about him than your calling him "fag boy" tells us about you.

What it tells us about you is not flattering.

interloper
interloper

@redtyger8@yourproductsucks Actually YPS is correct, in that the SCOTUS dismissed the case because the defendant-intervenors lacked standing to file an appeal. The original defendants chose not to defend the law in court. The SCOTUS did not rule on the merits of the case.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative ... so you propose that any idiot -- any of the 300,000,000 in the U$A, should be able to whine and complain directly to the SCOTUS and expect their nonsense to be heard?

Why do you hate the U$ Legal System?

tyger8
tyger8

@interloper The case had no merit and is why they chose not to waste their time trying to defend it. If you are referring to all the mumbo jumbo that was originally filed as merits in the court case? The decision was made based on the merits that the case had no merit, so a lack of merit, became the merit.

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