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Political Participation | Marriage Equality
In 2008, a ballot proposition and state constitutional amendment was passed in California, known as Proposition 8 (Prop 8). Enacted after 18,000 same-sex couples became legally married in California, Prop 8 restricted the definition of marriage by prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages by the state that took place after November 5, 2008. After being denied a marriage licenses in 2009, same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, suing the governor and several state officials challenging the constitutionality of Prop 8.
Neither the governor nor any of the named defendants in the case chose to defend the law in court; instead, the judge allowed official proponents of Prop 8 to intervene as defendants. On August 4, 2010 the court struck down Prop 8, finding that it violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Eight days later, proponents of Prop 8 filed an emergency motion in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a stay pending further appeal, and on August 16th the motion was granted.
LDF has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case arguing that the principles set forth in Loving v. Virginia, a Supreme Court case which held that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment,establish the fundamental right of any individual, including members of the LGBT community, to marry the person of their choice, free from discrimination.
LDF has a strong interest in the fair application of the Fourteenth Amendment, which provides important protections for all Americans, and expects that fundamental principles of equality that it provides will guide the Court’s decision in this case.
On February 7, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling, declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.