SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court on Tuesday declared California's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional but agreed to give sponsors of the bitterly contested, voter-approved law time to appeal the ruling before ordering the state to resume allowing gay couples to wed.
Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz
Update: Some analysis of the ruling: (h/t DWT)
Let's be clear at the outset what the three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did and didn't decide in its ruling today on the constitutionality of California's ballot-approved Proposition 8, which you'll no doubt recall had the (intended) effect of overturning the state law, already in effect, that had legalized same-sex marriage.
(1) What the panel did decide
Yes indeed, the ruling -- written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt (appointed to the court by Jimmy Carter) on behalf of himself and Judge Michael Hawkins (appointed by Bill Clinton) -- says that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
(2) What the panel did NOT decide
The ruling goes out of its way to make clear that the panel is not saying that it is necessarily unconstitutional to legally ban same-sex marriage.
Are we all clear on that? Anyone who says, or imagines, that the Ninth Circuit panel ruled today that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional doesn't know what he's talking about, or perhaps is just fibbing for reasons you'll have to ask him to explain.
SO WHAT DID THE PANEL RULE UNCONSTITUTIONAL?