Today marks a monumental turning point in our case for equality. AFER’s federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8 is now entering its final stage. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided today it will not rehear our case. Now, there are only two things that could happen:Couples start getting married again in California; or Our case for marriage equality goes to the U.S. Supreme Court.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY USA APPLAUDS TODAY’S 9TH CIRCUIT PROP 8 DECISION UPHOLDING THE FREEDOM TO MARRY
- Marriage Equality USA applauds today’s decision from the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, declining en banc review of its February 2012 ruling that held that Proposition 8, California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, was unconstitutional.
“The momentum for the freedom to marry seems unstoppable,” said Stuart Gaffney, Marriage Equality USA’s Media Director. “Three weeks ago, the President of the United States announced his support for marriage equality. Last week, the 1st Circuit Federal Court of Appeals held that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. And today, the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals upheld its earlier decision striking down Proposition 8. Nationwide polls have shown majority support for the freedom to marry for the last two years, and Californians now favor marriage equality by a 59 – 34 percent margin, according to the latest polling,” said Gaffney.
“Earlier this year, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit held that Proposition 8’s targeting lesbian and gay people and taking away their freedom to marry violated the equality and fairness guarantees of the United States Constitution. Today, a majority of the Court agreed, by declining to revisit the ruling. If the United States Supreme Court also declines to review the case, loving, committed lesbian and gay couples could be able to marry again in California later this year or early next year,” said John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s Legal Director.
Thom Watson and Jeff Tabaco of Daly City have been waiting to marry since Prop 8 was passed almost 4 years ago. “This month Jeff and I begin our 10th year together as a couple,” noted Watson. “When Judge Vaughn Walker heard closing arguments two years ago this month, he quipped, ‘June is, after all, the month for weddings,’” stated Tabaco. “It would be wonderful if this June marked the final decision in the case, and Thom and I could celebrate our 10th anniversary by getting legally married,” he continued. “A few days ago First Lady Michelle Obama stated: ‘In a country where we teach our children that everyone is equal under the law, discriminating against same-sex couples just isn’t right.’ We applaud our courts’ standing up for what’s fair and right and urge them to continue to do so,” concluded Watson.
Marriage equality opponents have 90 days (or until early September) to ask the United States Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court has discretion to decide whether or not to take the case. If the Supreme Court declines to do so, the Ninth Circuit decision would stand, and marriages would begin again in California.
The question is when will the stay on current marriages end – it is time for same-sex couples in California to go down to City Halls across the State and take to the streets and demand their clear right to get married now. The stay must GO! It seems so unfair to have to wait, even for SCOTUS to decide.
Each and every day that Proposition 8 remains on the books, loving gay and lesbian couples like our plaintiffs, Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo, are singled out as “different,” “other,” and “less than,” and their children are forced to endure consequences of state-sanctioned discrimination. Fortunately, this dark mark on California’s Constitution is about to be erased for good.
Over and over, the anti-marriage proponents of Proposition 8 have been turned back in their effort to ensure that gay and lesbian Americans remain second-class citizens. Despite two federal courts ruling conclusively that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, the anti-marriage forces petitioned for an en banc rehearing by a larger, eleven-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit. Today, that request was denied.
Should our case be heard by the United States Supreme Court, I am confident the Justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.”
American Foundation for Equal Rights