In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the traditional marriage activists who helped put Proposition 8 — California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage — on the ballot in 2008, and later defended the law in court, had no right to take that latter action.
The Supreme Court ordered an appeals court do dismiss their appeal, clearing the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.
It is unclear whether or not the court decision will help pave the way for gay marriage in other states in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where the case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, was decided. The Supreme Court's ruling today is narrow — and meant only to apply to this particular case.
Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. The ruling means that the federal government now legally recognizes and extends benefits to same-sex couples.
In the Prop 8 case, Chief Justice John Roberts was joined in his majority opinion by Justices Ginsburg, Scalia, Breyer, and Kagan. Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, and Sotomayor dissented.
Before Prop 8 was approved by 52.1 percent of voters in California in 2008, the state's Supreme Court had ruled that California would recognize same-sex marriages. Same-sex couples challenged Prop 8 in court, where it was declared unconstitutional. Then Prop 8 backers appealed — something the Supreme Court said they had no legal right to do.
Read the entire Supreme Court ruling here.