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Some members of the San Diego gay and lesbian community plan to march in celebration of Tuesday's ruling declaring California's ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
Tuesday's ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals puts the bitterly contested, voter-approved law on track for likely consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Justices ruled 2-1 that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria was one of the first local leaders to respond to the ruling. “The battle is far from over, but I know this civil right will be realized," Gloria wrote in a prepared statement.
Several minutes after the ruling was released, California Governor Jerry Brown posted his reaction on Twitter, "The court has rendered a powerful affirmation of the right of same-sex couples to marry. I applaud the wisdom and courage of this decision."
One local professor said Tuesday's decision is the most important step forward in gay marriage in the United States.
"Never before has a federal appelate court done pretty much any of the things that the 9th Circuit did today...saying that there's no rational basis for anyone to discriminate against gays on marriage rights," said Ari Waldman, visiting assistant professor of law at Cal Western Law School.
The court said gay marriages cannot resume in the state until the deadline passes for Proposition 8 sponsors to appeal to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit. If such an appeal is filed, gay marriages will remain on hold until it's resolved.
Many Prop 8 supporters decried the ruling as just the next step before the ultimate test in front of the nation's highest court.
"Every pro-marriage American should be pleased that this case can finally go to the U.S. Supreme Court," said Brian Raum with the Alliance Defense Fund in a written statement.
However many feel strongly that the 2008 vote should have been the final say. In San Diego, 53.8 percent of voters approved the ban. Nothing has changed for them since then, said Paul Aguirre, a San Diego resident.
"Honestly, I don't think [gay marriage is] wrong," he said. "My opinion is that males and females were meant to recreate, but they can do what they'd like. As long as they keep it to themselves."
Others said it was a matter of personal beliefs, which don't belong in the courts.
“The ruling today doesn’t surprise me, a lot of people have been fighting really [hard] for it," said Azarel Sanchez, a San Diego City College student. "But I still believe what I believe in. And this isn’t going to change my mind.”
Advocacy groups in favor of Prop 8 say this is not the end of the legislative battle.
"We expected this outcome with a left-leaning Ninth Circuit, but we believe in the voter-backed Prop 8, and we plan to pursue this case further - to a larger Ninth Circuit panel, and then to the U.S. Supreme Court," a statement read on Advocates for Faith and Freedom's website.
Supporters of Tuesday's ruling say they are prepared for the continued hearings.
"It's been an emotional roller coaster," said Dwayne Crenshaw with San Diego LGBT. "This is an exciting day. We're probably going back down for a while [because] this is going to be a long fight."
Some members of the San Diego LGBT community plan to march through Hillcrest on Tuesday evening in response to the ruling. A rally will be held at 6 p.m. on Sixth and University Ave.
Combined with the court's decision, the rally will also urge the approval of proposal to install a year-round rainbow flag.