California Prop 8 Declared Unconstitutional by 9th Circuit

Legal experts said that a federal appeals court's ruling that Proposition 8 -- California's 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage -- is unconstitutional is so narrowly written that it is an open question as to whether the U.S. Supreme Court will take the case. The 2-1 ruling by a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was written to limit its scope to California's borders and possibly even avoid review by the U.S. Supreme Court, legal experts said. That could mean the 9th Circuit might have the final word on Proposition 8 because the ruling was so pointedly limited to California, a state where, the justices ruled, voters stripped a minority of a right that already existed and where the usual justifications for a same-sex marriage ban -- responsible parenting and procreation -- are undercut by domestic partner laws.

Family Law Channel  host Judge Eugene Hyman says gay marriage proponents may prefer to avoid the "conservative leaning" Supreme Court. Hyman also says the ruling does say Prop 8 is unconstitutional but doesn't broadly declare gay marriage legal.

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