Supreme Court Strikes Down Prop 8 On Legal Standing

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that proponents of Proposition 8 did not have proper legal standing to appeal a lower court decision.

The 5 to 4 vote in Hollingsworth v. Perry was written by Chief Justice John Roberts; the dissent by Justice Anthony Kennedy. The majority opinion vacates the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court ruling and remands “with instruction to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.” That should leave the more broadly decided district court opinion intact.

Many had hoped for a more sweeping pronouncement, but the result is nevertheless another major step forward. It will make California the 13th state (plus the District of Columbia) to treat same-sex couples equally in marriage licensing, and it establishes a third of the nation’s population as living in marriage equality states.

Read the full opinion

Lisa Keen, co-author of Strangers to the Law: Gay People on Trial, covers this and other issues at

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  • fredo777

    that’s not the impression i got from scotusblog, but maybe i’m misunderstood.

  • twoguysbrooklyn


  • Tackle

    Now it’s time to celebrate!

  • fredo777

    @fredo777: never mind. i had to read it over again, but i get what the outcome was now.

  • Jackhoffsky

    @fredo777: From the SCOTUS Blog:

    Amy Howe: Here’s a Plain English take on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage: After the two same-sex couples filed their challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court in California, the California government officials who would normally have defended the law in court, declined to do so. So the proponents of Proposition 8 stepped in to defend the law, and the California Supreme Court (in response to a request by the lower court) ruled that they could do so under state law. But today the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, it held, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.

  • Jackhoffsky

    @fredo777: I”m sorry, it’s just that it really confused me to and Amy’s explanation really summed it up well for me. So anyway, for anyone else out there.

  • iMort

    Yea only 37 states left until we gays have our civil rights like everyone else.

  • Tackle

    @iMort: those 37 left will fall fast now.

  • Windsor519

    Well, that’s the easy part. It’s been damn near impossible just to meet another gay man to date and get serious with, they have these ridiculous lists of expectations, no social skills or understanding of what makes a relationship last, compromise, commitment, compassion, trust and honesty…not to mention caring about the things that will make a potential marriage last more than six months. Passing all these laws and readings won’t magically change the fact that gay men, for the most part, don’t do well coupled. Thanks to the disappearance of our public meeting spaces turning our social networking online, we funnel out anyone who isn’t 100% what we are looking for, all the while forgetting these ‘dream men’ are seldom gay in real life.

    Great news for civil rights, but this also means we need to do some work on ourselves as well. Those of us who haven’t met anyone feel pretty hopeless right now, and no amount of ‘freedom to marry’ stories will change that.

  • 2eo

    After all the lies, deceit and outright murderous hatred you Yanks have more than earned the right to stuff these decisions down the throats of the neo-con vermin ruining your country. Remind them and keep reminding them.

    We demand celebration, show the rest of the world how positive this really is.

  • jeff4justice

    The courts ruled that if you’re an LGBT person who sat on your ass and did nothing to help fight for equality then you do not have the right to marry : )

  • that_dude247

    @Windsor519: Nice reality check.

  • iMort

    @Windsor519: I’d marry you. You seem intelligent, articulate and have a good heart. I will pray to the Goddess that you find love. Unfortunately most queers suffer from arrested development and have not progressed beyond middle school.

  • Hermes


    The SCOTUS held that they did not have a right to STANDING BEFORE A FEDERAL COURT. That leaves the state ruling intact — a ruling that overturned Prop 8. The plaintiffs have a few weeks to try for a legal miracle (that’s standard) but reality is, Prop 8 has been overturned. The state courts have already ruled against it. Pro equality forces hold super majorities in both houses in CA and the Governor is a supporter. Furthermore, on average equal marriage gains 2% support per year, mostly through attrition. Prop 8 passed by less than 4% in 2008. It could no longer pass in CA – so an altered amendment is very unlikely.

  • Kangol

    Congratulations, Californians, and so proud of the Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of this finding and the one overturning the horrible DOMA!

  • Ben Dover

    @Windsor519: “It’s been damn near impossible just to meet another gay man to date and get serious with, they have these ridiculous lists of expectations, no social skills or understanding of what makes a relationship last, compromise, commitment, compassion, trust and honesty…” etc

    So what you’re saying is – Most gay men, including all your dates, are totally fucked up and need to CHANGE.

    You, on the other hand, are just fine the way you are and don’t need to change anything.

    Yep, that must be it!

  • loua61

    @ Ben Dover

    Don’t be so down on Windsor519, I agree with him. I don’t see what the big deal is. They say that 4% of the population is gay, out of the 4% maybe a half percent of them (gay men I can’t speak for lesbians) will want to get married anyway. Most gay men don’t want to commit to coffee much less a marriage. Don’t get me wrong I had two long term relationships with two wonderful men, they just didn’t work out. But now trying to at the very least develop a friendship it seems they only care about your dick size and if you are a top or a bottom and if you bareback. Getting one to go beyond that is just about next to impossible.

    I am not self loathing, homophobic, or wish I was straight, but it is my opinion that gays will never commit to each other the way our straight counterparts do. Yes there is a high divorce rate in the straight world but I do not see gay men willing to commit to each other, raise a family and plan for a long and happy future together the way straight couples do. Maybe because I am surrounded by happy committed straight couples who have families and savings and dreams but I see very few gay couples with the same goals and commitment.

    All I want is to find a nice guy, settle down, be faithful to each other and build a life together. is that so much to ask. I do not think so. I can’t seem to find that and I wish I could. So Windsor519 I know where you are coming from. Good luck my friend, don’t give up maybe some day your prince will come.

  • Elloreigh

    @Hermes: Just a correction – Prop 8 was previously upheld at the state level, not overturned. What was overturned at the state level was an earlier statutory initiative – Prop 22. Prop 8 was the response to Prop 22 being overturned. The overturning of Prop 8 came at the federal level in District court. It is that ruling which will stand.

  • MK Ultra

    I’m just so happy. It kinda restores my faith in humanity. Yes, sometimes people still do the right thing!

  • Cee

    Awesome news, and I would just say to all gays to be more aware of your surroundings now than ever. The homophobes are pissed and there are a lot of them. Please take what’s been happening in NYC as an example. There have been so many gay bashings and homicides on gay people in NYC since the passing of gay marriage. This just fuels the homophobes anger. Just look at the comments on any of the Prop 8 YouTube videos if you have any doubt. They are pissed and irrational. Not a good combination.

    Yay for the win though.

  • Cee

    @Windsor519: You forgot maturity. I think maturity is probably the number one trait necessary to sustain a healthy relationship. If you’re simply not mature enough none of those other traits matter, and one thing about gay men and men in general is we can be very immature.

  • Cam

    So basically now about 1/3 of the nation has the right to same sex marriage.

    With DOMA struck down, as soon as a couple from one of those states moves to a state like Mississippi and sues for their marriage to be recognized under the full faith and credit clause that is when there will be a sweeping ruling.

    I hope they do it in a state like Montana or Nevada. Those are under the 9th circut courts jurisdiction and they have been VERY friendly to gay rights. So in that case the Supremes either take the case or let the 9th circult ruling stand.

  • Cee

    @loua61: The grass is always greener. I know too many str8 people in unhealthy relationships. They are not happy. They are just complacent. The str8 couples you know might appear to be happy, but you don’t know what’s going on in their home, or when you’re not around. If you know any str8 couples who appear to have the perfect happy relationship then they have you fooled.

    You mentioned gays not committing or planning like str8 people. Almost every str8 guy I know has cheated on their girlfriend or would cheat if the opportunity presented itself where the girl was hot and they felt they could get away with it, but many times the girl doesn’t even need to be hot lol

    Women are crazy too. It might seem like it’s better over there, but it’s not.

  • Ben Dover

    @loua61: “They say that 4% of the population is gay, out of the 4% maybe a half percent of them (gay men I can’t speak for lesbians) will want to get married anyway.”

    How do you “know” this extremely pessimistic figure? I’ve never seen it reflected in Queerty comments (just for an example). There are always plenty of men here saying they’ve been with their partners for X years, and so on – every time marriage is in the news.

    “I am not self loathing, homophobic, or wish I was straight…”

    Common intro to a self loathing homophobic remark! …

    “…but it is my opinion that gays will never commit to each other the way our straight counterparts do.”

    Well… even IF true, so what? Men tend to be different from women, in case you hadn’t noticed. We don’t need to commit in exactly the SAME way. Even so, many manage to commit. Just because you & Windsor haven’t noticed it (or haven’t found it personally) doesn’t make it untrue.

    The only thing I agree with Windsor a little about, is the “disappearance of our public meeting spaces,” I miss them too and think the online stuff doesn’t help. But even there, it seems pretty pointless to complain about something like that. Kind of like missing the good old days of LP records and cassette tapes? And a little ironic to complain about it in an online forum!

  • Tackle

    @loua61 & Windsor519 you two seem sincere and seem like you are ready and would love to be in a relationship. And you seem to posses the stability , maturity & experience to sustained a loving, committed long term relationship. Faith could have bought you two together this day. You two should exchange numbers & meet -up.

  • brent

    liberals in california seem to be ignoring a serious problem they now have. Hispanics and blacks voted in large numbers for prop. 8 in 2008, which means the supreme court has thrown out there votes. How will the calfornia democratic party explain to blacks and hispanics that the democrats are still the party that supports racial minorties. You don’t think they might resent having there votes thrown out.

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