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9th Circuit to Issue Opinion on Proposition 8
L.A. Times

More than three years after California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage, an appeals court on Tuesday is set to decide whether Proposition 8 violates the federal Constitution.

During oral arguments more than a year ago, the three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to be leaning toward ruling against Proposition 8 but expressed concern about procedural matters.

Rallies are planned across California after the judges hand down their decision.

The judges on the Proposition 8 panel are Stephen Reinhardt, an appointee of former President Carter; Michael Daly Hawkins, an appointee of former President Clinton; and N. Randy Smith, appointed by former President George W. Bush.

Two same-sex couples challenged Proposition 8 just days before the California Supreme Court upheld it as a valid state constitutional amendment. The suit led to a historic federal trial that examined the nature of sexual orientation, the history of marriage, and discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker presided over the trial and ruled against Proposition 8 in 2010, but the 9th Circuit issued a stay to put his ruling on hold pending appeals.

The stay could remain in place even if the panel rules against Proposition 8. If the panel lifts the stay, backers of Proposition 8 could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate it.

The losing party can appeal the ruling to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit, which would delay U.S. Supreme Court review for many months or longer, or go directly to the high court. The sponsors of Proposition 8, ProtectMarriage, have said they were eager to get to the high court as soon as possible.

"Either side that loses would want to read the opinion and look at the vote count before making an en banc decision," said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine Law School.

The court's decision would have no immediate effect on other states within the 9th Circuit, lawyers said Monday. Even if Proposition 8 is struck down and the stay lifted, marriage bans in other states would probably continue until challenged or until state officials refused to recognize them, attorneys said.

"We are very hopeful that the 9th Circuit will rule in favor of fairness and equality, once and for all putting an end to Prop. 8's exclusion of loving, committed couples from marriage," John Lewis, legal director of Marriage Equality USA, said in a statement.
more information
PROPOSITION 8 Ruled Unconstitutional By 9th Circuit Court

BREAKING: Proposition 8 ruled unconstitutional by 9th Circuit panel
By Jacob Combs and Adam Bink just received the 9th Circuit’s opinion in Perry v. Brown that Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-enacted ban on marriage equality in California, is unconstitutional. In addition, the appeals panel ruled that the proponents of Prop 8 did have standing to pursue their appeal of Judge Walker’s decision striking down the marriage ban, and upheld District Court Judge Ware’s decision denying a stay to throw out Walker’s ruling because he is gay. The ruling on constitutionality was divided on an 2-1 vote, with Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Hawkins voting to strike Prop 8 down, and Judge N. Randy Smith voting to uphold the ban. The ruling regarding standing and the motion to throw out Judge Walker’s decision was a unanimous 3-0 vote.
In his August 4, 2010, decision, which the 9th Circuit upheld today, District Court Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Prop 8 as unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. In his opinion, Judge Walker presented 80 findings of fact regarding same-sex marriage, which included discussions about the immutability of sexual orientation, the ability of same-sex couples to be good parents, and the inequality of providing LGBT couples with civil unions as opposed to full marriages. These findings of fact are highly significant, because while appellate courts can overturn a lower court’s decision based on its findings of law, they usually defer to those courts’ findings of fact. Today’s ruling affirms Judge Walker’s findings of fact, meaning that they can but used in the future in other trial cases in the 9th Circuit that deal with LGBT rights.
am i hearing correct?
-this decision is positive but likely taken to a higher court or full session of the current court
-this court, by releasing its findings, locked the facts and findings back to Judge Walker's court. Any new court activity cant introduce new evidence. Is this correct?
1. Correct, it will likely be taken to a higher court (The Supreme Court) or to a full session of the current court depending on what type of appeal is made.
2. I didn't understand what you were asking at first, but now I do. It is based on the last sentence of the paragraph. No, all future court proceedings regarding LGBT rights in the 9th Circuit Court CAN refer back to Judge Walker's findings, but new evidence can always be introduced in new cases. They are saying that Judge Walker's findings of fact are now precedent in the 9th Circuit, which includes the states of California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, and Arizona as well as Guam and the Northern Marianas Islands.
3. The opinion was given based primarily on California law, which means that the Supreme Court could refuse a hearing and allow the judgement to stand for the state of California alone. If the Supreme Court accepts a hearing, their judgment would set precedent for other such federal cases (negatively or positively) based on the ruling.

Those are my understandings of the situation.

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