The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
Court Decision adds momentum to Oregon campaign for freedom to marry
What was Decided?
Proposition 8 is a ballot measure that was narrowly passed by California voters in 2008, amending the California Constitution to specifically exclude committed same-sex couples from the freedom to marry. The measure was subsequently challenged based on the fact that that it violates the federal constitution under both the Due Process clause and the Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. constitution’s 14th amendment. The challenge was successful at the District Court level, and was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by supporters of the ballot measure.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for all loving and committed same-sex couples in California and across the nation,” said Jeana Frazzini, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon. “We applaud the 9th Circuit for standing on the right side of history. Today’s ruling, if upheld will restore the freedom to marry in California and add our nation’s largest state as another engine of progress for the country.”
The freedom to marry helps loving committed couples and their families and harms no one. Today’s decision provides security to those legally married couples and ensures access to the critical safety-net of protections marriage brings, as well as the dignity and respect it confers, for the many thousands of gay and lesbian couples who live in California and who wish to be married.
With more than 37 million residents in California, today’s ruling has national implications. Ending the denial of marriage to gay and lesbian couples in the Golden State would more than double the number of Americans living in a state with the freedom to marry, to almost a quarter of the U.S. population (23.5%). With a majority of Americans supporting the freedom to marry nationwide, today’s ruling reflects the basic American value of the Golden Rule–to treat our neighbor as we wish to be treated.
It is likely that supporters of the measure will appeal the ruling to the entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (en Banc). There are 11 judges on the appeals court (today’s ruling was issued by a 3 judge panel). For that to occur, a majority of the 11 members of the appeals court must be willing to hear the case. Once heard by the entire court, the ruling would then likely be appealed to the Supreme Court by whichever party has a negative outcome. The Supreme Court will then decide whether or not to review the case (decide whether or not to grant Certiorari).
What does this mean for Oregon?
To win the freedom to marry in Oregon, voters need to amend the state constitution which currently excludes committed same-sex couples from marriage. Basic Rights Oregon, along with a broad coalition of community, faith, business and labor organizations is leading an ongoing education campaign to increase public support for the freedom to marry in advance of a vote on the issue. We need your help to build a Majority for Marriage in Oregon, here are three things you can do today:
- Have conversations with the people in your life. Talking to people you know is the most effective way to build support for the freedom to marry.
- Help us build a political majority for marriage in Oregon by registering yourself and your friends to vote and supporting pro-equality candidates. Send the message that pro-LGBT voters are here to stay in Oregon, and our numbers are only growing.
- Host an Equality House Party to build support for equality across Oregon.
To get a breakdown of the key states in play right now, click here.