After years of legal wrangling, the U.S. Supreme Court could decide if same sex marriage is legal in California Friday.
The court will convene to decide whether to hear a case challenging Proposition 8, the amendment banning gay marriage in California. In February, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the amendment unconstitutional, and Prop 8 proponents appealed the ruling. If the Supreme Court chooses not to hear the appeal, then the circuit court ruling would stand, and gay marriage could, once again, be legal in California. If the nation’s top court does take up the case, Californians would likely have to wait several months before a decision is made.
According to the court panel's ruling, the proposition's primary impact was to "lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California."
"It stripped same-sex couples of the ability they previously possessed to obtain and use the designation of `marriage' to describe their relationships," according to the court's decision. "Nothing more, nothing less. Proposition 8 therefore could not have been enacted to advance California's interests in child-rearing or responsible procreation, for it had no effect on the rights of same-sex couples to raise children or on the procreative practices of other couples.
"Nor did Proposition 8 have any effect on religious freedom or on parents' rights to control their children's education; it could not have been enacted to safeguard those liberties."
Opponents of same-sex marriage were equally strong in their words condemning the ruling at the time.
Proposition 8 supporter Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, blasted the ruling, calling it "unfair to the voters, against our republic, against our democratic system..."
"It's illogical and unconstitutional to claim that natural, unchangeable race and ethnicity is the same as sexual behavior,'' he said after the ruling. ``That's not fair or true. Race and ethnicity are inherited, but science has never found homosexuality, bisexuality or transsexuality to be inherited or unchangeable.''
Do you think the Supreme Court should hear the case? Or should the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling be the final word on the matter, legalizing gay marriage in California? Tell us in comments.
—City News Service contributed to this report.