LOS ANGELES, Calif.--The Los Angeles-based sponsor of the federal challenge to Proposition 8's ban on same-sex marriage lauded today's appellate ruling not to review the contentious case.
"Today's order is yet another federal court victory for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in California and around the nation," said Chad Griffin, co-founder of American Foundation for Equal Rights, sponsor of Perry vs. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8.
The full U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today decided not to reconsider the February ruling of a three-judge panel. In a 2-1 vote, that panel found Proposition 8 -- an amendment to the state constitution -- to be at odds with U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection under the law.
The panel stated that the proposition "serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians."
Today's ruling opens a 90-day window in which supporters of the propositon can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Same-sex marriages in California will be on hold until the matter is decided.
Andy Pugno, an attorney for ProtectMarriage.com, said he was not surprised by the ruling.
"We have anticipated since the beginning that the case will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court," Pugno said. "We will promptly file our appeal to the nation's highest court and look forward to a positive outcome on behalf of the millions of Californians who believe in traditional marriage."
Said Proposition 8 opponent Griffin: "The final chapter of the Prop 8 case has now begun. Should the U.S. Supreme Court decide to review the Ninth Circuit's decision in our case, I am confident that the justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality."
Voters approved the change in the state constitution in November 2008, defining marriage as a legal bond between a man and a woman.
Loyola Law School professor Doug NeJaime said he did not expect a U.S. Supreme Court ruling until October at the earliest.
"The Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on this," he said. "Now, we just have to wait and see."
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the ruling "another momentous step on the path to full equality and dignity for all Californians and all Americans."
"Today we celebrate ... Tomorrow we prepare for the hoped-for last chapter in our decades long fight for marriage equality -- a ruling by the United States Supreme Court," Villaraigosa said.
"Between now and then, we will continue to make our case. Love doesn't care if you're gay or straight, love doesn't discriminate."