Liberal 9th Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who struck down California’s Proposition 8 as well as gay marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho, and wrote a ruling that barred jurors from being removed because of sexual orientation, has died at 87.
Reinhardt died suddenly during a medical appointment according to a Court spokesman.
One of his most important rulings withstood appeals: a decision in February 2012 that struck down Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage that California voters had approved in November 2008. Rather than declare a constitutional right for gays and lesbians to wed their chosen partners, Reinhardt crafted a narrower decision, based on past Supreme Court rulings that said a state could not withdraw rights in order to harm a politically unpopular group. Same-sex couples had briefly been allowed to marry in California, based on a state Supreme Court ruling that was repealed by Prop. 8.