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Federal Court Rules that California's Constitutional Marriage Amendment Violates U.S. Constitution

4:17 PM, Feb 7, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Washington Post reports:

A federal appeals panel in San Francisco ruled Tuesday that California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, a decision that could lead to the Supreme Court’s consideration of the controversial social issue.

By a 2 to 1 vote, the panel overturned the proposition, which was approved by 52 percent of the state’s voters in 2008 and amended the state’s Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

“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,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt. “The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

Reinhardt, a Jimmy Carter appointee considered one of the nation’s most liberal appellate judges, was joined by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins, appointed by President Bill Clinton. Judge N. Randy Smith, a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush, dissented.

John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, responded to the ruling with the following statement: “Never before has a federal appeals court – or any federal court for that matter – found a right to gay marriage under the U.S. Constitution. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the most overturned circuit in the country, and Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the author of today’s absurd ruling is the most overturned federal judge in America. Today’s ruling is a perfect setup for this case to be taken by the U.S. Supreme Court, where I am confident it will be reversed.  This issue is the Roe v Wade of the current generation, and I sincerely doubt the Court has the stomach for preempting the policy judgments of the states on such a contentious matter, knowing the lingering harm it caused by that ruling.”

 

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