In a 2-1 vote the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Proposition 8, the measure banning same-sex marriage in the state of California,  as unconstitutional.

Tuesday’s decision confirms the ruling of former U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled in August 2010 that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry their partners.

“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling stated.

The appeals court also rejected the argument by supporters of the Prop 8 that Judge Walker was biased because he is gay, an admission that came out after his ruling.

Despite Tuesday’s ruling, same-sex couples cannot get married immediately, as the court kept in place a stay, pending further appeal.

Sponsors of Proposition 8 are expected to appeal the decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to a higher court and the decision could ultimately end up at the U.S. Supreme Court for a final decision.



Photo Credit: Stafford Vaughan, via Wikimedia Commons