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U.S. 9th Circuit Court Rules on Prop 8 Appeal: DENIED!

“Today’s order is yet another federal court victory for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in California and around the nation,” said American Foundation for Equal Rights co-founder Chad Griffin.  “The final chapter of the Proposition 8 case has now begun.  Should the United States Supreme Court decide to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision in our case, I am confident that the Justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.”

The United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, this morning has issued its’ ruling and DENIED the request for reconsideration of the decision of a three-judge panel of the court in February 2012, upholding the ruling of U. S. District Judge Vaughn Walker striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional.

Filed Order for PUBLICATION (STEPHEN R. REINHARDT, MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS and N. RANDY SMITH) (Dissent by Judge O’Scannlain, Concurrence by Judge Reinhardt) A majority of the panel has voted to deny the petition for rehearing en banc. Judge N.R. Smith would grant the petition. The full court was advised of the petition for rehearing en banc. A judge requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc. The matter failed to receive a majority of the votes of the non-recused active judges in favor of en banc consideration. Fed. R. App. P. 35. The petition for rehearing en banc is DENIED. The mandate is stayed for ninety days pending the filing of a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. If such a petition is filed, the stay shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court.

READ THE NINTH CIRCUIT’S ORDER GRANTING REHEARING EN BANC HERE: www.afer.org/legal-filings/ninth-circuit-en-banc-order/

On February 7, 2012, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit concluded that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Ninth Circuit panel majority held:

“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.  The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

The request for a larger eleven-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to reconsider the case, known as rehearing en banc, is only granted upon a majority vote of the Ninth Circuit’s 25 judges in regular active service at the time Proponents’ petition was filed.

The Ninth Circuit will also address Proponents’ renewed attempt to impugn the reputation of the United States District Chief Judge who struck down Proposition 8.  Unable to defend Proposition 8 on its merits, Proponents claim that the now-retired Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker was disqualified from ruling on Proposition 8 and that his historic decision should be vacated because he is gay and in a committed relationship.

The Ninth Circuit unanimously rejected Proponents’ offensive argument, stating: “To do otherwise would demonstrate a lack of respect for the integrity of our federal courts.”