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California Gay Marriage Ban Overturned

California Gay Marriage Ban Overturned - The long-running fight over gay marriage in California heads to a federal appeals court on Monday for two hours of high-stakes argument that could set the stage for an eventual showdown at the US Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco must decide whether a federal judge was correct when he ruled in August that the US Constitution protects the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The federal judge said a state effort to restrict marriage to heterosexual couples “unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry” guaranteed to all persons.

The case has national implications because if the US Constitution protects a fundamental right to gay marriage, no state would be permitted to limit marriage to only those of different genders.

Currently, 45 states have laws or constitutional provisions restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Five states – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Vermont – and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage.

In their appeal to the Ninth Circuit, supporters of the ban argue that the federal judge ignored a long line of existing legal precedents upholding regulation of marriage as between a man and a woman.

“Every appellate court, both state and federal, to address the validity of traditional opposite-sex marriage laws under the United States Constitution has upheld them,” writes Charles Cooper in his brief to the court.

California Gay Marriage Ban Overturned

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