After a 3 judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, with a majority vote of 2-1, proponents asked for an en banc vote from the 9th Circuit. This means that all 26 judges, and not just a panel of 3 would have to re-hear the case and cast a vote on its constitutionality.
However today it has been revealed that they have refused to do so as they find the initial ruling fair. The proponents of Proposition 8 now have 90 days to appeal to the Supreme Court on the matter. What does this mean?
There are two possibilities:
1. The Supreme Court agrees to hear the case – in this case the hearing would begin in the fall and a final judgement would ideally be passed by (or before) June 2013. The judgement could go either way (fingers crossed.)
2. The Supreme Court refuses to hear the case – this scenario will take place only if the Supreme Court upholds the 9th Circuits judgement that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. In which case marriage for same sex couples will be made legal after an interim period.
Unfortunately for Californian couple, Proposition 8 stays in effect until a final ruling is made.
While today’s ruling means that judges are taking a step in the right direction win regards to same sex marriage, let’s hope that the supreme court does not take two steps back on the matter.