Supporters of California’s Proposition 8, the state’s voter-approved marriage ban, filed a request with the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday, asking that the high court take up their appeal after two lower courts ruled the ban unconstitutional.
The proponents of the measure submitted a this request, asking the Supreme Court to issue a “writ of certiorari” to the lower court, or an official order stating it would take up the case.
Marriage equality foes hope the justices will place the law back into effect after a lower court in San Francisco struck it down Feb. 7.
The California Marriage Protection Act, a 2008 ballot initiative, commonly known as Proposition 8, added the phrase “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” to Article 1 of the state’s constitution, when it was passed as a ballot measure during the 2008 election.
A three-judge panel of the federal court in San Francisco ruled the ban unconstitutional, citing that the law was created specifically to discriminate. It said, “Prop. 8 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. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”
A request for the full 11-panel Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case was denied June 5.
“The Supreme Court has long held that the freedom to marry is one of the most fundamental rights — if not the most fundamental right — of all Americans,” said Boies. “As we have said from the very beginning of this case, the denial of that fundamental right seriously harms gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising. Today’s petition presents the Justices with the chance to affirm our Constitution’s central promises of liberty, equality, and human dignity.”
Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda, said he expected today’s actions and that he’s excited for the high court to hear the case.
“Depending on how the justices craft the ruling, it could have national implications for marriage equality fights in other states,” Martinez said. “This is the big civil rights debate of our time. I am confident, if it takes the case, the Supreme Court will rule in favor of civil rights again.”
AFER will have 30 days to respond to the request. The Supreme Court, which is in summer recess, will decide whether or not it will hear the case in the coming weeks. If it does, oral arguments could begin as soon as next year.