A federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled on Tuesday that California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. In a 2-1 ruling, the three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld now retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s 2010 ruling that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses.
The court dismissed Prop 8 proponents’ claims that Vaughn should have recused himself from the case because he was in a long-term relationship with another man.
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, noted: "Proposition 8 does nothing to strengthen or protect any marriage. Instead, it singles out thousands of loving California families for different treatment, simply because they are gay and lesbian couples."
* In Washington state, the House of Reps is slated to vote on a bill today that would allow same-sex couples to marry.
* The New Jersey State Senate is scheduled to vote on a measure on Feb. 13 that would allow marriage equality, although Gov. Chris Christie vows to veto.
* Maryland legislators continue to debate a similar bill.
* New Hampshire lawmakers are poised to debate a bill later this month to repeal their state’s marriage equality law.
* North Carolina voters in May will vote on a proposed homophobic constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
* Minnesotans are slated to consider a similar ballot measure in November.
* Maine voters will vote on a referendum that would allow same-sex couples to marry.
* And in Virginia, gays can be turned down for adoption. *