REPORT:California's legal battle over same-sex nuptials is now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the final chapter in four years of litigation over the constitutionality of Proposition 8's ban on gay marriage.
In a brief order Tuesday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said a majority of the court's active judges voted against reconsidering a three-judge panel's decision to overturn the voter-approved 2008 state constitutional amendment. Three dissenting 9th Circuit judges who favored review called the panel's ruling a "gross misapplication" of the law that "roundly trumped California's democratic process." The two judges who voted to overturn the ban last February reiterated Tuesday that their decision was limited to the situation in California.
Lawyers in the case expect the U.S. Supreme Court to review Proposition 8 this fall and decide its constitutionality next June. Until the Supreme Court acts, the 9th Circuit's order will be on hold and Proposition 8 will remain in effect.
"The end is now in sight," said Chad Griffin, who started an organization that is financing the legal battle against Proposition 8.
"We are not at the end of the line yet, but we are vastly closer," said Theodore B. Olson, one of the lawyers for two same-sex couples who challenged Proposition 8 in federal court
The case is heading to the high court at the same time as another landmark gay-rights ruling. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals last week overturned the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that the federal ban on recognizing same-sex marriages violated the U.S. Constitution.
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