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Perry v. Brown: Ninth Circuit Says Prop 8 is Unconstitutional

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this morning in Perry v. Brown that California Prop 8 is unconstitutional, but that doesn't mean that wedding bells will start pealing for the state's gay couples. The court's repeal of the same-sex marriage ban is on hold pending further review from an en banc Ninth Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court, reports The San Francisco Chronicle.

Unlike now-retired District Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling in the case, the Ninth Circuit panel did not find that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry. Instead, the narrowly-written decision only applies to couples in California, where the right for same-sex couples to marry was granted, then rescinded, reports the Huffington Post.

Voters passed California Prop 8 in 2008 in response to a California Supreme Court ruling earlier in the same year that legalized same-sex marriage in the state. Approximately 18,000 gay couples were married in California before the ballot initiative passed, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing for the 2-1 majority, noted that "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 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled that there was no evidence that Judge Walker, who presided over the California Prop 8 trial, was biased, or that he should have disclosed that he was gay and in a long-term relationship with another man, reports the Huffington Post.

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