Proponents of Proposition 8 [text; JURIST news archive], California's same-sex marriage ban, on Tuesday requested a new hearing [petition, PDF] before the full US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website]. The request comes after a three-judge panel voted 2-1 to overturn the law [JURIST report], finding that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment [Cornell II backgrounder]. The Protect Marriage Coalition [advocacy website] has alleged [news release] that the decision was at odds with other jurisdictions throughout the country. Asking for the reconsideration blocks the decision from taking effect immediately. The coalition believes that the ruling violates the United States Constitution:
The panel majority's ruling that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment also contravenes binding Supreme Court precedent holding that the traditional definition of marriage does not violate that Amendment. In Baker v. Nelson, the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed, "for want of substantial federal question," an appeal presenting the same question decided by the panel: whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to recognize same-sex relationships as marriages.The appeal will only be accepted if a majority of the 25 judges who sit on the Ninth Circuit agree to review the decision. The next step would be an appeal to the US Supreme Court. Some legal analysts say it is unlikely that the Supreme Court would take the case because the majority opinion focused mainly on California law, not the national standard.
The Ninth Circuit struck down Proposition 8 earlier this month, ruling that the voter-approved [JURIST report] constitutional amendment violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. The Ninth Circuit initially heard arguments on Proposition 8's constitutionality in December 2010, but then asked the California Supreme Court [JURIST reports] to rule on whether defendants had standing to appeal. The high court ruled in November that they did have standing [JURIST report].