Four years ago, California voters passed Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. The State Supreme Court upheld Prop 8 as legal under the California Constitution. But first in 2010, and again now, federal courts ruled it violates the U.S. Constitution.
In the majority 2-to-1 ruling, Judge Stephen Reinhardt writes: "By using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so, the People of California violated the Equal Protection Clause."
Judge Randy Smith disagreed. "Ultimately," he wrote, "I am not convinced that Proposition 8 is not rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest. I must therefore respectfully dissent."
It's all but certain that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final word. In the meantime, the Appeals Court's stay barring gay weddings remains in effect.