If you haven’t already heard, the topic of gay marriage has returned to the political spotlight, as a federal appeals court ruled earlier this week that Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Therefore, federal judge Vaughn Walker’s landmark ruling was upheld. The court’s written decision stated, “By using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so, the people of California violated the Equal Protection Clause. We hold Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional on this ground."
So what’s next? Many experts believe the case is bound to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. Proponents of the ban are sure to appeal the ruling, but where the battleground takes place is the issue as opponents of gay marriage could ask the 9th Circuit to review the case with an 11-judge panel (instead of 3). But if it does head to the nation’s Supreme Court, many believe the outcome will rely solely on Justice Anthony Kennedy. The LA Times reports: “Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 75, often holds the court's deciding vote on the major issues that divide its liberals and conservatives. More often than not, that vote has swung the court to the right. But on gay rights, Kennedy has been anything but a "culture wars" conservative.”
The Supreme Court could also refuse to hear the case, which would mean no national precedent would be set for gay marriage. In order for the case to be considered, four justices must vote for it and for a ruling to be issued a majority is needed.
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