CREATED Feb. 7, 2012
PALM SPRINGS--Supporters of same sex marriage are celebrating here in California. A Federal Appeals Court ruled that California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.
Judges say Proposition 8 "works a meaningful harm to gays and lesbians" by denying their right to civil marriage -- and violates the 14th Amendment.
The decision was expected and is a victory for those who challenged the voter approved measure known as Proposition 8. But this is not the end of it. There is still one more appeal left, the United States Supreme Court.
Celebration in the streets of San Francisco as a panel of 3 federal judges declared, Proposition 8, the voter approved ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.
"To hear from the court that it violates the rule of the constitution is the greatest Valentine's gift we could have hoped for," said Proposition 8 opponent Stuart Gaffney.
In Palm Springs a quiet victory at home for married couple Paul Washington and Tim Forrester.
"It was a validation of us and the movement and what we've been a part of our entire lives," said Proposition 8 opponent Tim Forrester.
The two got married in 2008 during the 5 month window when gay marriage was legal. That right then taken away, but the debate over same sex marriage raged on.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals saying Tuesday that Prop 8 "serves no purpose, has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians."
"What the court did today affirms that you can't single out one group of people and deny them the dignity and respect which all citizens deserve," said gay marriage advocate Chad Griffin.
"I'm excited it's like, it's my birthday," said Palm Springs resident Paris Aguirre. "I feel excited, liberated and I feel like it's a step in the right direction."
But backers of Prop 8 say they'll appeal
"The rationale that 7 million people of California have a right to protect the only institution that unites kids with their moms and dads," said Bill May of Catholics For Common Good.
They say they want to get the issue before the Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit Court explicitly said Tuesday it was not deciding the larger question of whether the constitution allows any state to ban gay marriage. Their ruling only applies to California. Stay with KMIR 6 news for the very latest developments.