In a major turning point for the marriage equality situation in California, a federal appeals court has ruled the state’s ban on same-sex couples tying the knot is ‘unconstitutional’.
The notorious Proposition 8 passed in 2008, with 52% answering ‘Yes’ that only a marriage between a man and a woman would be allowed in the state. Hundreds of same-sex couple had already married – but others were blocked from doing so after Prop 8 was enforced.
Now Judge Stephen Reinhardt says in the court ruling: “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gay men and lesbians in California.”
“Although the constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently,” says the ruling.
“There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted.”
Marriage equality campaigners welcomed the court’s decision, and hope the next step will be to head to the US Supreme Court where a case against Prop 8 would finally be decided.
Hollywood’s equality advocates were quick to cheer the appeals court decision. Modern Family stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet tweeted the photo above, with their sign saying “Hoe could you not want to see us tie the knot?”, and Ferguson typing “Historic! #Prop8 is unconstitutional. @AFER & I won’t stop until ALL Americans are #free2marry.”
Ellen DeGeneres, who married her partner Portia de Rossi just three months before Prop 8 was enforced, also reacted joyfully: “Today we took another step towards equality. #Prop8 was found unconstitutional again. I couldn’t be happier.”