Proposition 8 case headed to Supreme Court

The full Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals refused to review a three-judge panel’s decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The decision means the ruling will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could hear the case and issue a decision within a year.

In a short, three-paragraph brief on June 5, the Court of Appeals refused to reconsider an earlier ruling that struck down the 2008 law because it stripped gays and lesbians the right to marry. The court denied the request from Proposition 8 backers to rehear the case with the full, 11-judge panel.

Gay couples will not be allowed to marry until marriage equality opponents have a chance to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The ruling comes just shortly after a federal appeals court in Boston struck down portion of the federal government’s ban on same-sex marriage. It’s likely the Supreme Court may consider both state and federal gay marriage restrictions next term and make a ruling by June 2013.

The 9th Circuit was expected to reject the request to rehear the case. Only three of the 25 full-time judges dissented from the opinion.

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit struck down Proposition 8, saying it denied the legal right to marry without any social or legal justification except bias against gays and lesbians. The decision reaffirmed a decision by former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker.

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