The 2-1 decision in Perry v Brown found Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution. "Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California," said the court.
"The ruling is narrow and likely to be limited to California," adds the Los Angeles Times.
In a separate decision, the appeals court refused to invalidate Walker’s ruling on the grounds that he should have disclosed he was in a long term same-sex relationship. Walker, a Republican appointee who is openly gay, said after his ruling that he had been in a relationship with another man for 10 years. He has never said whether he and partner wished to marry.
ProtectMarriage, the backers of Proposition 8, can appeal Tuesday's decision to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit or go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court is expected to be divided on the issue, and many legal scholars believe Justice Anthony Kennedy will be the deciding vote.
The backers of the 2008 initiative have vowed to appeal the case.
Walker's August 2010 ruling came almost two years after California voters approved the same-sex marriage ban in a heartbreaing November 2008 initiative. Former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to appeal Judge Walker's decision. Newly inaugurated Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris also refused to defend the ballot measure.
On January 2011, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals punted the appeal of the landmark ruling to the California Supreme Court. Last November, the California Supremes ruled that anti-gay activists had "standing" to defend the ban.
It's a great day for equality.