In affirming that the California voter-passed initiative banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, wrote for a 2-1 majority of a Ninth Circuit panel that the law served no other purpose than to discriminate:
Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for “laws of this sort”
That rationale goes back to what I’ve been saying since I wrote this post in 2008:
on an issue like same-sex marriage, I don’t think it matters whether I believe God is bothered by homosexuality. Proposition 8 has to do with fundamental rights—limiting them, that is. Marriage, despite what we always hear, is not a religious convention. It is a cultural convention. And the words “sanctity of marriage,” to my mind, have more to do with tax breaks and hospital visitation than ordaining a relationship before God.
As an evangelical Christian—as someone who, uncomfortable as it is to sometimes say this, reads in the Bible that homosexuality is a “perversion”—I don’t believe it is the job of government to legislate based on religion. We’ve seen how that works out.
Proposition 8 was not about marriage—not about protecting a sacred ceremony—but how the government treats a certain class of Americans.
On an semi-related and coincidental note, Reinhardt is the father-in-law of Daniel Sokatch, former Progressive Jewish Alliance executive director and now head of the New Israel Fund.