Federal Appeals Court chooses not to rehear CA Proposition 8 case

This afternoon, the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a petition for an en banc rehearing of the Proposition 8 case - the 2008 ballot initiative in California that resulted in a constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying in the state. Today's news means that the Court's decision in Perry v. Brown from February, which upheld a previous ruling from a lower court that found Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, will stand for now. 

The court has put its decision on hold for 90 days to allow time for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Anti-gay proponents of Proposition 8 can now choose to file a petition for certiorari and appeal the case to the Supreme Court, which will then decide whether or not to review the case. If Prop 8 proponents do appeal the ruling, as is expected, the Supreme Court justices will likely decide whether to grant review in the fall, after their summer break. Oral argument would follow the decision, and the final decision from the Supreme Court would likely not be issued until summer of 2013.  

Should the Supreme Court decide not to review it, then the freedom to marry will be restored to the state of California. If this happens, 23 percent of the U.S. population would be living in states that allow same-sex couples to marry.  

Our founder and President Evan Wolfson released a statement about the news. He said:

Today's decision by the Ninth Circuit to deny a rehearing of Perry vs. Brown brings committed same-sex couples in California one step closer to being able to marry. It's now been three-and-a-half years since the freedom to marry was stripped from from loving and committed same-sex couples. It is long past time for this "gay exception" to marriage in California to come to an end. Freedom to Marry calls on all Americans to join us in continuing to make as strong a case in the court of public opinion as legal advocates are making in the court of law.

The Court's decision to deny the en banc rehearing of Perry v. Brown brings us one step closer to tearing down the discriminatory barrier to marriage in California. Freedom to Marry applauds the Court's decision and acknowledges the American Foundation for Equal Rights - which brought the challenge to Proposition 8 in 2009 - and their instrumental role in advancing the freedom to marry in California.