Thursday, February 9, 2012

Prop 8 Decision Reads Like a Letter to Justice Kennedy

The big legal news of this week was the Ninth Circuit ruling in the Proposition 8 case. The appeals court ruled, on narrow grounds, that the passage of Proposition 8, which in 2008 banned same-sex marriage in California, is invalid under the U.S Constitution.

But the opinion is as important for what it didn't say, as for what it did. In a 2-to-1 decision, the majority of the three-judge panel steered clear of broader issues surrounding gay marriage. The court specifically noted that it need not, and would not, rule on whether marriage is a fundamental right. Instead, the court's analysis focused on a narrower question that is likely to arise infrequently at best.

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