Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

California looks to life without Prop. 8's ban on gay marriage (+video)

The Supreme Court essentially let stand a lower court ruling against California's Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Given shifting public attitudes, Prop. 8 seems unlikely to have another political life.

By Staff writer / June 26, 2013

Matt Dunne and Kris Bhat hang a rainbow flag outside Marcella's Pizza shop in San Francisco's Castro district after the US Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage Wednesday. The court left in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 banning gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Eric Risberg/AP


Reactions to the US Supreme Court’s action on California’s Proposition 8 ballot measure defining marriage as one man and woman under the state constitution came quickly and sharply – rejoicing on the one hand, bitter denunciation on the other.

Skip to next paragraph

For now, at least, same-sex couples will again be allowed to marry in California, likely within days. Less likely, given the high court’s action Wednesday and the trend in public attitudes, is a repeat of the ballot measure that sharply divided the state and led to a drawn-out legal battle.

Proponents of Prop. 8 seemed stunned by the US Supreme Court action, which essentially let a US District Court ruling against the measure stand after finding that the case was improperly before the high court. The justices sent the case back to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth District in San Francisco with instructions for that court to reject the Prop. 8 proponents' appeal "for lack of jurisdiction."

"In a miscarriage of justice the US Supreme Court has refused to consider the decision of a single federal court judge to overturn the perfectly legal action of over 7 million California voters who passed Proposition 8 defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman," said Brain Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, the biggest contributor to putting Prop. 8 on the ballot. "The Supreme Court's holding that proponents of an initiative had no legal right to appeal ignores California law and rewards corrupt politicians for abandoning their duty to defend traditional marriage laws.”

In a statement, Mr. Brown angrily noted that the original state court ruling invalidating Prop. 8 was not surprising because the case “was heard by a homosexual judge in San Francisco who himself was engaged in a long-term same-sex relationship.”

Brown called the US Supreme Court decision “illegitimate,” and he said, “We and millions of other Americans will refuse to accept this rogue decision rewarding corruption.”

Andy Pugno, general counsel for, the official proponent of Prop. 8, said he was at least grateful that the Supreme Court had ruled narrowly on the measure – declining to declare the measure unconstitutional as supporters of same-sex marriage had hoped, but focusing instead on the question of legal standing for Prop. 8 supporters.

“We will continue to defend Prop. 8 and seek its enforcement until such time as there is a binding statewide order that renders Prop. 8 unenforceable,” Mr. Pugno said in a statement.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, says the ruling “distorts the balance of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.”


  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!