Proponents of Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on gay marriages in the US state of California, have asked the Supreme Court to overturn two lower judgements that it was unconstitutional.
Marriage equality opponents have now asked the Supreme Court to decide finally whether the previous two decisions were right.
In 2008, the state-wide Proposition 8 ballot revoked Californian citizens’ rights to marry a person of the same sex. The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld rulings that the public vote was unconstitutional this year.
The petition to the Supreme Court says: “The 9th Circuit’s error, if left uncorrected, will have widespread and immediate negative consequences.
“The 9th Circuit’s sweeping dismissal of the important societal interests served by the traditional definition of marriage is tantamount to a judicial death sentence for traditional marriage laws throughout the Circuit.”
The court will therefore decide the question of marriage rights in California. If it declines to hear the case, the June ruling will come into effect. If it takes up the case, it will issue its own final ruling on the legality of the gay marriage ban.
Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign said: “As the late Ronald Reagan would say, ‘Well, there they go again.’ The President of the United States, a majority of the American public, two federal courts and most of America’s NATO allies view marriage equality as a fact.
“But Brian Brown, Charles Cooper, Andy Pugno, and Mitt Romney continue to stampede over the cliff of historical irrelevance, insisting that America will cease to function if gays and lesbians can marry.
“The major problem with this thesis is that seven states and the District of Columbia welcome marriage for all and the country functions just fine, the sun still shines and the world still rotates on its axis.
“We can only hope that the Supreme Court will once again act for all Americans on the right side of history, not for a few hysterical ones scared of love.”
John Lewis, Marriage Equality USA’s Legal Director said the Ninth Circuit court decision in the Proposition 8 was “absolutely correct”, and followed “Supreme Court precedent closely”.
He continued: “Proposition 8’s targeting lesbian and gay people and taking away their freedom to marry violated the equality and fairness guarantees of the United States Constitution.
Mr Lewis added: “It is crystal clear that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to each and every American in all aspects of our lives, including marriage equality. The U.S.Constitution guarantees equality for all, not equality for some.”