Today the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it will not reconsider a February ruling that struck down California's Proposition 8, a voter-mandated initiative that strips gays and lesbians in that state of the right to marry there. The appeals court's refusal to revisit the case paves the way for the fight for marriage equality to head to the federal Supreme Court.
For those late to the game, the infamous ballot measure was passed by voters in November 2008, reinstating a ban on gay marriage six months after the state's Supreme Court rejected it on constitutional grounds. Its passage led to a three-year legal showdown.
After the vote passed, two same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in federal court contending that Prop. 8 violates the Constitution. In February, a three-judge panel agreed that the ban was unconstitutional, but anti-gay marriage activists pushed the appeals court for an 11-judge panel to rehear the case, which was denied.
This is just the latest boost for marriage equality advocates. Following President Obama stepping up in support of same-sex nuptials last month, last week a U.S. appeals court in Boston struck down a key part of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.