Appeals Court, Gay Marriage in California Case Heading to Supreme Court?

An official court notice has reported that the decision regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and woman, will be made Tuesday by 10:00 a.m.

The notification was released by the Public Information Office of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, California. Proponents of Proposition 8 argue that marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman. The proposition was adopted in November of 2008, with a 52 percent majority vote. Those opposed to the proposition have stated that the definition of marriage should be amended to include same-sex couples.

The actual decision may have little bearing on the final outcome, as both sides have already stated that they plan to appeal whatever decision the U.S. appeals court makes. If the decision is appealed then it will likely be taken up by the Supreme Court, which could lead to a standard, national ruling on the definition of marriage in the future.

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Proponents of Proposition 8 have argued that allowing same sex marriage is harmful to families and society and goes against clear biblical teachings. A recent document produced by the Vatican, titled "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons," gives further explanation: "Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts close the sexual act to the gift of life."

In August of 2010, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. He controversially concluded that moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to "deny" legal marriage to gay men and women.

However has stated that, "The benefits to society of traditional marriage are overwhelming," suggesting that same-sex marriage encompasses more than a moral discrepancy.

Walkers' ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional was later put on hold as litigation over the issue unfolded, and it was revealed that Walker was in a long-term same-sex relationship; obviously putting his impartiality in question. It was decided that the judge's conduct had been improper and that he should have recused himself over a conflict of interest.

According to the Proposition 8 Proponents, "Thirty-one other states, including California have voted on this issue and every single one decided against legalizing same-sex marriage and instead upheld traditional marriage. California has voted on the issue twice and the people's voice has been resounding: marriage is between one man and one woman."

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