Perry, et al. v. Brown, et al., No. 10-16696 (9th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
This appeal arose when the People of California adopted Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. At issue was whether this amendment violated the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The court declined to address the more general questions presented to it concerning the rights of same-sex couples to marry. The court concluded that, through the proponents of ballot measures, the People of California must be allowed to defend in federal courts, including on appeal, the validity of their use of the initiative power. Accordingly, the proponents possessed Article III standing to prosecute this appeal from the district court's judgment invalidating Proposition 8. However, the court concluded that the People could not employ the initiative power to single out a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the right to marry. By using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without legitimate reasons for doing so, the People violated the Equal Protection Clause. Therefore, the court held that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional on this ground and affirmed the judgment of the district court. The court also affirmed the denial of the motion by the official sponsors of Proposition 8 to vacate the judgment entered by former Chief Judge Walker, on the basis of his purported interest in being allowed to marry his same-sex partner.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on January 4, 2011.