Gay marriage opponents on Tuesday (31 July) asked the US Supreme Court to overturn a federal appellate court decision that struck down California's Proposition 8 which stripped same-sex couples of the right to marry.
Proposition 8 sponsors Protect Marriage described the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in February that California's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional as 'misguided.'
In their petition to the high court, the group states: 'Our Constitution does not mandate the traditional definition of marriage, but neither does our Constitution condemn it. Rather, it leaves the definition of marriage in the hands of the people, to be resolved through the democratic process in each state.'
The lawsuit challenging Prop. 8 was filed on behalf of two California couples who want to marry: Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the group which brought forth the lawsuit that led to the court case and lead co-counsel David Boies said in a statement that the freedom to marry is 'one of the most fundamental rights' of all Americans.
'As we have said from the very beginning of this case, the denial of that fundamental right seriously harms gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising,' Boies said. ' Today’s petition presents the justices with the chance to affirm our Constitution’s central promises of liberty, equality, and human dignity.'
Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign, blasted Proposition 8 proponents for carrying on the legal battle.
'As the late Ronald Reagan would say, 'Well, there they go again.' The President of the United States, a majority of the American public, two federal courts and most of America's NATO allies view marriage equality as a fact,' Jacob said.
He said the conservative argument 'that America will cease to function if gays and lesbians can marry' has already proven to be untrue.
'The major problem with this thesis is that seven states and the District of Columbia welcome marriage for all and the country functions just fine, the sun still shines and the world still rotates on its axis,' Jacobs said. 'We can only hope that the Supreme Court will once again act for all Americans on the right side of history, not for a few hysterical ones scared of love.'
The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether or not to hear the case when it returns from vacation.