Federal Court Strikes Down California Marriage Law

by Sue Ellen Browder

SAN FRANCISCO, February 8, 2012 (National Catholic Register)-- A federal appeals court has ruled that a California-voter-approved initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman has no rational basis and violates the U.S. Constitution.

In a 2-to-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court ruled that Proposition 8, passed in 2008 by 52% of the state’s voters, “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.”

Bishops swiftly denounced the decision. Calling the ruling “a grave injustice,” Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “The Constitution of the United States most assuredly does not forbid the protection of the perennial meaning of marriage, one of the cornerstones of society. The people of California deserve better. Our nation deserves better. Marriage deserves better.”

Prop. 8 defense attorneys called the ruling in Perry v. Brown unfortunate but no major surprise. Ever since the case began, “we’ve known that the battle to preserve traditional marriage will ultimately be won or lost not here, but, rather, in the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the

ProtectMarriage.com coalition. ProtectMarriage.com fought and won the right to defend Prop. 8 on behalf of the voters after then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown, who is now governor, refused to do so.

“Now that the Ninth Circuit has rendered its decision, the case can finally move to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it will be decided on sound legal arguments rather than the emotional appeals by those trying to obliterate the only institution that unites children with their moms and dads,” said Bill May of Catholics for the Common Good, who helped lead the Catholic campaign for Prop. 8.

May called the author of the decision — Judge Stephen Reinhardt — “one of the most-overturned judges in the most-overturned court in the U.S.”

Continued at the National Catholic Register

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