As you have probably heard by now, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled today that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, which supports the original ruling by Judge Walker. That ruling by the Ninth Circuit was issued this morning.
The ruling (2-1) was by a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit. The ruling was a narrow one, restricted to the California law. Those opposed to the ruling now have the option to request an “en banc” review by 11 judges of the Ninth Circuit. It is also possible that the judges themselves can call for an “en banc” review, even if neither party requests it. Or, the proponents of Proposition 8 could simply appeal directly to the Supreme Court. Presumably, even given an “en banc” review, which would add time to the progress of the action, whichever side disagrees with the ultimate ruling at this level will appeal the case to the Supreme Court.
Judge Walker’s ruling was stayed (not allowed to go into effect) during the appeal. It is deemed highly unlikely that the stay would be lifted as a result of this ruling by the Ninth Circuit. The court also rejected a claim that Judge Walker should have recused himself because he is a gay man in a long-term relationship.
The Ninth Circuit Court said in the ruling, “Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had 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.”