California appeals court rejects same-sex marriage ban

A California appeals court has ruled that a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The judges said in their ruling Tuesday the ban, known as Proposition 8, “serves no purpose” other than to lessen the “status and human dignity” of homosexuals in the state. The dissenting judge in the 2-to-1 decision said he thought the government could have a legitimate reason to restrict same-sex couples from marrying.

Gay marriage supporters cheered the ruling, while Proposition 8’s proponents said they would appeal it, either to a higher California court or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

But some legal analysts said Tuesday the Supreme Court may choose not to weigh in, because Tuesday’s ruling only applies to California’s specific circumstances. The judges said the Proposition 8 was illegitimate because it took away a right that had already been granted.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said she thought the ruling, though narrow, was indicative of the broader issue, that no laws can change the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Proposition 8 passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, just months after the state had approved gay marriages.

Homosexual couples will still be prevented from marrying in California until the appeals process is complete.

Several U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow gay couples to marry.

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