9th Circuit Rules Proposition 8 Unconstitutional

The 9th Circuit earlier today ruled that Proposition 8, the California state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, was unconstitutional. This action is predicted to have no effect on the state of marriages in California, as opponents of Proposition 8 are guaranteed to appeal to either the entire 9th Circuit panel or the Supreme Court. The major effect this will have, however, is on the election come November. While the issue will not most likely be solved until after the election (assuming the Supreme Court hears it next term, a decision would probably not come until January the earliest), this ruling has the potential to energize both Democrats and Republicans.

Republicans will be energized by this ruling, seeing it as an overreach of big government and activist judges. Social conservatives in particular could be energized, which could give a boost to Santorum or Gingrich’s campaigns, especially as Santorum seems to be on a possible rise with predictions of today’s primaries in Minnesota and Missouri. This could be a threat to Romney, who has had less than conservative viewpoints on many social issues in the past. As a result, depending upon the effect that this ruling has on the race, it could mean a reshuffling of sorts. Even if it does not reshuffle the race significantly, this ruling has the potential effect of increasing energy for the November elections and further increasing Republican turnout against Obama.

On the flip side, this ruling also has the opportunity to greatly energize the Democrat base. Obama has been one of the most LGBT friendly presidents in recent history. He has repealed DADT, refused to defend DOMA in court, and passed landmark discrimination and bullying legislation to protect against LGBT discrimination. This ruling, coming as another string of LGBT successes, could cause some gays to look at the Republican response in a fearful manner. Knowing full well that many of the advances made in the past three years could be reversed if a Republican took the White House, gays could provide energy to the Democrat base, especially coupled with energy from unions fearful of the same outcome. The firing of the Democrat base would be a major boon to Obama, allowing him to focus on courting independents that will be crucial for his reelection and overall increasing turnout for him.

Overall, I think that the Proposition 8 ruling will have a major effect on the 2012 presidential election, even if the entire issue is not solved until next year.

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  • riccija  On February 7, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    The Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage and Obamacare before November? We will be lucky if they rule on one of them by then. I don’t understand what you mean by the Republicans being energized by this. They are mad that the courts ruled against this? It is the job of the courts to be the “check” and I cant see republicans being mad about this being an overreach of government. Yea republicans don’t like big government, but these are the courts. You really cant downsize or eliminate them, they are what keeps everything in balance.

    • riccija  On February 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Ok, I read the actual news article, I can see why the republicans are mad.

      • kessledi  On February 7, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        Yeah for a while now there’s been a lot of Republican complaints about “activist judges” and the idea of making laws from the bench. It’s a key argument for Republicans in arguing why the courts do not support their views and it helps to fire up the base. It definitely showed to have helped in Iowa in 2010, when a campaign to prevent three of the judges who voted on the same-sex marriage case in favor from being reelected succeeded.

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