The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld Judge Vaughn Walker’s Prop 8 decision in Perry v. Brown, backing both Vaughn and his ruling that struck down California’s gay marriage ban as unconstitutional. Gays across the country, including in Atlanta, will take to the streets to celebrate.
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human 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,” judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote in the ruling.
Queer Justice League of Atlanta joins in the celebrations with a Prop 8 Victory Rally in Midtown at the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Yes, while it’s still illegal for gay couples marry in Georgia, all are welcome to bring signs and raise their voices – like hundreds did in 2010 at the same location (photo) – for the far-reaching ramifications of not only the California ruling, but anti-gay marriage laws across the country.
Tuesday’s victory – which upholds that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and goes further to say that Walker, who is gay, had no reason to recuse himself from the case – sends a strong message with nationwide implications. Experts say that federal courts have now twice-confirmed that a straight-only marriage law is unconstitutional directly calls into question the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition of same-sex unions, even in states where their partnerships are legal.
A thorough accounting of the background of the case reveals that it’s been a long road to victory. It was in 2008 when the California Supreme Court granted marriage rights to same-sex couples, but only 18,000 were able to tie the not in the seven-month sweet spot before voters approved Prop 8 and changed the state constitution to redefine marriage.
Since then, it’s been a flurry of days in court, climaxing in Walker’s 2010 federal court decision that the backers of Prop 8 could not answer plaintiffs’ claims of discrimination in the law. The ruling was quickly stayed as the appeal began and began an 18-month war of words in court and in the press leading up to Tuesday’s decision.
An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is promised, so no new weddings in California are anticipated as a result of the new ruling.