California’s gay marriage ban has been overturned by a three-judge federal court panel. It was a four-year battle to reverse a state initiative prohibiting same-sex marriages, which California voters passed by 52 percent in 2008. Of course, gay rights advocates assume the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Ninth Circuit Court struck down California’s Proposition 8, using language similar to that used by the U.S. Supreme Court when it struck down Colorado’s 1992 anti-gay rights Proposition 2; i.e., “serves no purpose and has no effect other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians…re-classed for their relationship and families as inferior to those of opposite sex couples” (Justice Kennedy, the likely swing vote, wrote the majority opinion in 1996).
A court challenge is being pursued because current polling indicates that an insufficient percentage of Californians support gay marriage to safely place a gay marriage law on the ballot (Field Poll 51% to 42% for gay marriage, but only 44% favor gay marriage when offered civil union and no legal recognition alternatives).
Gay marriage appears more popular among the U.S. population as a whole. Nationally, Pew Research Center reports 46 percent favor and 44 percent oppose gay marriage, a significant shift in opinion from 1996 when the public was opposed 65 percent to 28 percent against.
Tim Gill, Colorado’s multi-millionaire gay rights advocate, is reported by the Wall Street Journal to have contributed more than $5 million to defeat anti-gay rights ballot referendums around the country. The recent article claims he was deeply involved in New York’s successful passage of a gay rights legislation and has spent money lobbying in New Jersey’s recent failed legislative effort.
Gill may be the single most important funder in Colorado’s Democratic Renaissance beginning in 2004. He’s very political, very strategic and very wealthy.
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