On Tuesday, February 7, 2012, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The voter-passed initiative banned gay marriage in the State of California. As a result, California’s state constitution was amended to read; “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Activists argued that, by allowing gay marriage, California schools would be infiltrated with inappropriate material that undermined heterosexual marriage. Immediately, lawsuits were filed challenging the ban. There are many supporters on both sides of this issue and the Ninth Circuit’s ruling is likely to be appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Anticipating this move, the Ninth Circuit stayed it’s ruling. However, counties across the state are beginning to prepare for the anticipated influx of same-sex marriages that will most definitely ensue once the stay is lifted.
Some of Proposition 8 supporters and opposition can agree that once the voters speak, their decisions should be honored. In the Federal District Court of the Northern District of California, Judge Vaughn R. Walker found that Proposition 8 violated the equal-protection rights of the same-sex couple who filed the lawsuit. Judge Walker and the Ninth Circuit agree that banning same-sex marriage is a violation of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution because it discriminates against a group of people. The voters of California have rejected same-sex marriage twice and twice they have been challenged in the courts.
Currently, a total of six states grant same-sex marriage licenses including: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. The government of Washington D.C. also grants same-sex marriage licenses. In addition, Maryland recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states, however it does not grant same-sex marriage licenses. On Tuesday February 8, 2012 the State of Washington Legislature passed a bill permitting gay marriage. That bill was signed into law on February 13, 12.
California voters were not alone when they rejected gay marriage. State after state has followed suit. When put to a popular vote, gay marriage is frequently vetoed. In fact, in 31 of the 31 states where gay marriage was put to a vote, the voters refused to pass the referendum. Interestingly, a Field Poll taken in 2008 concluded the majority of Californians approved of legal same-sex marriage. In 2010, a CNN poll reached similar results. The poll found that, on a national scale, the majority of Americans approved of legal same-sex marriage. In 2011, the Pew Research Center reached the same conclusion finding 46% of Americans in favor of same-sex marriage and 44% opposed. Considering all of these statistics, why do voters reject same-sex marriage in the polls? Whatever the reason, a conclusion to this tumultuous battle is not on the horizon anytime soon.
Please contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding custody. San Diego Family Law Attorney Nancy J. Bickford is the only board-certified divorce lawyer in San Diego who also holds an MBA and a CPA. Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.