In reaction to the decision of the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 in California, Ann Kaner-Roth, executive director of Project 515, stated, “Project 515 supports any and all efforts to provide equal rights to same-sex couples and their families. While this decision does not have any direct effect on the 515 Minnesota laws that discriminate against same-sex couples, the fact that Prop. 8 has been found, yet again, unconstitutional is encouraging.”
The Circuit Court announced today that Proposition 8 is in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. According to the court opinion, “The People of California may not, consistent with the Federal Constitution, add to their state constitution a provision that has no more practical effect than to strip gays and lesbians their right to use the official designation that the State and society give to committed relationships, thereby adversely affecting the status and dignity of the members of a disfavored class.”
Prop. 8 amended the California Constitution to eliminate marriage rights for same-sex couples in November 2008. The legal team opposing Prop. 8, headed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, argued that the State of California is in violation of the United States Constitution, which includes the right to equal protection under the law. The decision today affirms a lower court decision that also found Prop. 8 unconstitutional.
The lead attorneys in the case, Theodore Olson and David Boies, successfully argued on behalf of two same-sex couples who wish to marry but cannot because of Prop. 8.
The two attorneys were on opposite sides of the Bush v. Gore decision in the year 2000, and Theodore Olson served in the administrations of two Republican Presidents, Ronald W. Reagan and George W. Bush. Noting this, Kaner-Roth stated, “Equality is not a partisan issue. As we discuss a constitutional amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that would ban marriage for same-sex couples, we hope Minnesota voters acknowledge the fact that state constitutions and the Federal Constitution cannot and should not discriminate against Americans based on sexual orientation.”