Major announcement on California’s Proposition 8 expected today

Later today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will announce a filing in Perry v. Brown, the case that revolves around Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that struck down the freedom to marry in California in 2008. The filing will be related to whether the court should rehear the case en banc. If the court decides to rehear the case en banc, then a randomly-appointed panel of 11 Ninth Circuit judges will hear the case. If the request is denied, anti-gay, anti-marriage activists will almost surely appeal the case to the United States Supreme Court. 

The move comes several months after a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional back in February. Following the ruling, opponents to the freedom to marry petitioned for the en banc review. The Ninth Circuit's ruling was a reiteration and reaffirmation of Federal District Court Judge Walker's decision in August of 2010 that Proposition 8 violated the Constitution. 

Judge Walker's words on Proposition 8 have endured throughout Proposition 8's judicial process. In his 2010 ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, he wrote:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. 

The American Foundation for Equal Rights has published a useful graphic explaining all of the possible paths that Proposition 8 could take after today's announcement. 

Marriage advocates have been watching the Proposition 8 case in California very closely - California is the most populous state in the country, so if the freedom to marry is restored in the state, 23 percent of the U.S. population would be living in states that allow same-sex couples to marry.

Check back for updates at Freedom to Marry this afternoon when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announces their filing.