A decision Tuesday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals means it will not rehear the ban on Proposition 8. Both sides of the debate are now looking ahead to the Supreme Court which could agree to take up the case during its term which begins this fall.
Unlike previous crowds, there was just one lone demonstrator waiting on the steps to applaud the 9th Circuit Court's decision, but make no mistake, gay rights activists are calling this a monumental day. The appeals court has refused to reconsider an earlier ruling that found California's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
"Today's decision from the 9th Circuit Court brings us to the final lap. It brings us to that final step we hope will allow wedding bells once again to ring in the Golden State," Stuary Gaffney told ABC7 News. Gaffney and his husband John Lewis tied the knot during that brief period of time when same-sex marriages were legal, before November 2008 when voters approved Prop 8, the ban on gay marriages.
The decision by the appeals court is not much of a surprise to backers of the ban. "The 9th Court is a tough place," said Andy Pugno with Protect Marriage. "It's the most liberal circuit in the federal courts and we knew we'd have a tough go in San Francisco." There were three appeals court judges who wanted to rehear the case and mentioned President Obama's interview with ABC News anchor Robin Roberts, saying in their written dissent that when the president announced his support for same-sex marriage he had said, "One of the things he'd like to see is that the conversation continue in a respectful way." Those judges said Monday, "Our court has silenced any such respectful conversation."
Now, Prop 8 backers will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. "This is not so much a defeat as it is another step in the process that we know we have to go through in order to exhaust our remedies and ultimately make our way to the Supreme Court," Pugno said.
"Consensus is building across the country in court after court after court, that this discrimination is wrong. It violates the constitution and it must not stand," Gaffney said.