A federal appeals court on Tuesday ruled that California's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, clearing the way for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the controversial issue.
In 2008 California voters approved Proposition 8, which limited marriage to between a man and a woman. In a 2-1 decision, the appeals panel said the ballot initiative itself was unconstitutional.
“Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California,” the court said.
This should not affect gay marriage battles elsewhere in the country. The Los Angeles Times reports that "the ruling was narrow and likely to be limited to California."
A group called ProtectMarriage, which backed Prop 8, can now take the case to a larger appeals panel or directly to the Supreme Court.
Gay marriage was legal in California for six months in 2008, between the time the state's high court struck down a ban and when Prop 8 was passed.
In 2010 a lower court ruled Prop 8 was unconstitutional -- that is the ruling that was upheld on Tuesday. Same-sex marriages could still not be performed as the appeals process moved forward, and that will likely still be the case following this latest ruling.