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Gay marriage legal in California

Opponents of Proposition 8, California's anti-gay marriage bill, celebrate outside of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 7 in San Francisco.
Opponents of Proposition 8, California's anti-gay marriage bill, celebrate outside of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Feb. 7 in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A California ballot proposition denying marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples was struck down Tuesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A copy of the ruling was not immediately available. The Court of Appeals action was reported by several news media outlets and gay rights groups.

The ruling may result in the constitutionality of gay marriage being determined by the US Supreme Court.

According to the California Secretary of State's office, Proposition 8, passed in 2008:

  • Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
  • Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

In ballot arguments distributed to California voters, supporters of the proposition said:

"It restores the definition of marriage to what the vast majority of California voters already approved and human history has understood marriage to be.

"It overturns the outrageous decision of four activist Supreme Court judges who ignored the will of the people.

"It protects our children from being taught in public schools that “same-sex marriage” is the same as traditional marriage."

Among the arguments by opponents were:

"Our nation was founded on the principle that all people should be treated equally."

"The government has no business telling people who can and cannot get married. Just like government has no business telling us what to read, watch on TV, or do in our private lives."

"Those committed and loving couples who want to accept the responsibility that comes with marriage should be treated like everyone else."

Proposition 8 passed 52.3-47.7 percent statewide, according to state elections records.

Support for Proposition 8 was overwhelming in Stanislaus County, where it passed 67.9-32.1 percent.

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