Appeal Likely for Ruling Against Gay Marriage Ban

A California judge’s ruling against the Prop 8 gay marriage ban could reach the Supreme Court.

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While a federal judge has ruled that California's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the fight's not over yet.

Defendants and plaintiffs must respond to the judge's temporary stay (which stops his decision from immediately taking effect) by Friday, according to CNN.

U.S. District Justice Vaughn Walker agreed to the stay so he could hear more arguments from both sides. He'll then decide whether or not he'll extend the decision.

Experts say the case will almost certainly head to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the 9th Circuit is known to have liberal judges. But the initial appeal will likely go in front of a three-judge panel, whose members are chosen randomly. And there's a chance it could be seated with a majority of conservatives.

"The outcome could well depend on the makeup of that panel," Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine told the newspaper.

On Wednesday, Walker said the voter-enacted ban, known as Proposition 8 "singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment."

The ban was passed by the public in 2008 through a narrowly passed referendum five months after the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

Outside of the courthouse on Wednesday, same-sex couples cheered, waving rainbow and American flags. The two couples surrounding the case were ecstatic.

"Our courts are supposed to protect our Constitutional rights," said lead plaintiff Kris Perry. "Today they did."

Some though, were furious.

Luke Otterstad, 24, stood outside with his fiancée Nadia Chayka, 22, wearing shirts that read "Groom" and "Bride," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I feel like my vote didn't count," said Otterstad, who held a sign reading 'Marriage=Man + Woman.' He added, "I voted for Prop. 8, as did some 7 million others. I just don't think it's right that one man, an unelected judge, can overturn the will of the people in a democracy."