SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Gay couples who had been gearing up to get married in California this week had to put their wedding plans on hold once again after a federal appeals court said it first wanted to consider the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban.To read more, click here for the full article.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals imposed an emergency stay Monday on a trial court judge's ruling overturning the ban, known as Proposition 8. Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker had ordered state officials to stop enforcing the measure starting Wednesday, clearing the way for county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"It's saddening just to know that we still have to keep waiting for this basic human right," Marcia Davalos, of Los Angeles, a health care advocate who had planned to marry her partner, Laurette Healey, said when the stay was issued Monday. "We were getting excited and then all of a sudden it's like, 'Ugh.' It's a roller-coaster."
Lawyers for the two gay couples who challenged the ban said Monday they would not appeal the panel's decision on the stay to the U.S. Supreme Court. They said they were satisfied the appeals court had agreed to fast-track its consideration of the Proposition 8 case by scheduling oral arguments for the week of Dec. 6.
"Today's order from the 9th Circuit for an expedited hearing schedule ensures that we will triumph over Prop. 8 as quickly as possible," said Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, a group funding the effort to get the voter-approved gay marriage ban permanently overturned. "Our attorneys are ready to take this case all the way through the appeals court and to the United States Supreme Court."
Attorneys for backers of the voter-approved measure applauded the decision. In seeking the emergency stay, they had argued that sanctioning same-sex unions while the case was on appeal would create legal chaos if the ban is eventually upheld.
"Invalidating the people's vote based on just one judge's opinion would not have been appropriate, and would have shaken the people's confidence in our elections and the right to vote itself," said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8.
Under the timetable laid out Monday, it was doubtful a decision would come down from the 9th Circuit before next year.
I'm pleased by this turn of events, simply because it would be a legal nightmare if, in the end, Prop. 8 is upheld - yet there are a huge number of people who wouldn't have been able to marry under Prop. 8. Even some of my anti-Prop. 8 / pro-gay marriage friends agree with this. What a relief! Now we get another round of wait-and-see...