After a nearly 18-month wait, a federal appeals court ruled that California's Prop 8, a voter-approved definition of marriage as between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.
A three-judge panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Tuesday that homosexuals have the right to marry. The decision overturns Proposition 8, which effectively banned gays from legal marriage.
"Opponents of Prop 8 insist on changing the definition of marriage for everyone, including children who deserve the opportunity to grow up in a home with their own married mother and father," Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst at Focus on the Family, said in a statement after the ruling.
"But no judge has the right to redefine marriage," he continued. "Doing so redefines parenthood and offers yet another instance of social engineering based on the desires of adults rather than the interests of children."
Click play for more on this ruling from CBN News Reporter Mark Martin, followed by more insight with Jordan Lorence, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, on what's next in this legal battle for marriage.
In 2010, Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 did not pass constitutional muster. But after it was revealed that Walker himself is gay, traditional marriage supporters challenged his ruling.
Despite Tuesday's decision to uphold Walker's two-year-old ruling, same-sex marriages are unlikely to resume in California any time soon.
Meanwhile, Prop 8 proponents are expected to take the case to the Supreme Court. But some doubt the high court will hear an appeal because of the narrow approach used by the 9th Circuit.
Tuesday's decision by the three-judge panel "is specifically looking at the role of Proposition 8 in the California context," Santa Clara University law professor Margaret M. Russell told the Los Angeles Times.
She explained that because the ruling is limited to California -- and not one that would affect the entire country -- the court would be less likely to get involved.
Attorney Andy Pugno, author of Proposition 8, did appear to be disturbed by that possibility.
"A win for us would be a Supreme Court decision saying this is not something that judges should decide," Pugno said.
"This is something that the people and their elected representatives should decide on a state-bystate basis," he said.