In a battle that has been in the political limelight for almost five years, a federal appeals court announced today that they would uphold the decision of a lower court declaring California’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, writing the decision for the federal court, noted that the legislation, widely known as Prop 8 served “no purpose…other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.”
The decision paves the way for the ruling to be taken to the Supreme Court in what could possibly be a monumental decision for gays and lesbians should the country’s top court find it unconstitutional for states to block same sex marriage.
If you haven’t been following the highly politicized and polarizing decision, we’ve assembled eight facts to help clarify the history surrounding the controversial legislation.
2 to 1: Ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S Constitution and the Supreme Court precedents that Proposition 8 was in violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
83 million: Money raised by both supporters and dissenters campaigning on Prop 8 prior to Election Day, setting a new national record for a social policy initiative and only dwarfed by a presidential campaign.
51.8 Million: Monetary differential between funds raised both for and against Prop 8 compared to those raised on 22 similar measures in other parts of the country between 2004 and 2006.
6: Number of states that issue same sex marriage: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire. Five additional states: Hawaii, Delaware, New Jersey, Illinois and Rhode Island, recognize civil unions and spousal rights.
18,000: Number of same sex couples who tied the knot in California during the four month window.
10: Number of years federal judge Vaughn Walker had been with his same sex partner. Walker made the initial ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional and later disclosed he was gay when he retired from the bench last year. Supporters of Proposition 8 argued Walker had a conflict of interest when he made the ruling, but his successor, James Ware rejected the claims.
52: Percent of the vote Proposition 8 passed by in the November 2008 election.
1996: Year of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Romer v. Evans which forbids government from singling out any on group of people, particularly gays and lesbians for “disfavored legal status.” The Romer Test has long been considered a precedent to reform same-sex marriage laws.