Highlights from the Prop. 8 decision

The U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out an appeal from the sponsors of Proposition 8 of a lower court ruling that said the voter-approved measure prohibiting gay marriage is unconstitutional. Below are key excerpts from the court’s ruling.

Timeline: Gay marriage across the U.S. | Photos: Scene after the rulings | Cheat sheet: DOMA vs. Prop. 8 | Full coverage

Majority opinion, delivered by Chief Justice Roberts

Chief Justice Roberts, in the majority opinion, details the background of Prop. 8 and California's initiative process. He says a litigant must have a "personal and individual" injury that requires redress.

Roberts says once the initiative became law the petitioners were no longer directly involved.

The majority dismisses the case for lack of standing.

Joined by justices Thomas, Alito, and Sotomayor.

Dissenting opinion, by Justice Kennedy

Justice Kennedy says that the California Supreme Court's permission to defend the law should be given weight.

Kennedy says petitioners have no redress if California's agents can halt the process by declining to defend state laws.

The initiative process is used by 26 states, Kennedy says, and the majority's decision has implications for its effectiveness.

Sources: Photos: Associated Press, AFP/Getty Images, Getty Images | Lead image: Michael Reynolds / EPA

Credits: Produced by Evan Wagstaff , TimelineSetter