There will be no same-sex marriages in California this week. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Proposition 8 proponents’ request that the same-sex marriage ban remain in place pending appeal of a federal judge’s opinion finding it unconstitutional.
But the appellate court also has ordered that the case be expedited: A previous briefing schedule that would’ve had papers being filed through December has now been vacated. Instead, the opening brief is now due Sept. 17; the answering brief is due Oct. 18; and the reply brief is due Nov. 1, with oral arguments set for the week of Dec. 6.
And the court has asked the proponents – who were actually interveners in the original suit filed against the state – to include in their opening brief why their appeal shouldn’t be dismissed for lack of standing.
UPDATE @ 5:30 P.M.: The three 9th Circuit appellate judges who ordered the stay are Edward Leavy, Michael Hawkins and Sidney Thomas – for those who keep count, that’s one Reagan nominee and two Clinton nominees. (Though if you want to judge books by their covers, don’t forget that Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who has declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional, was first nominated by Reagan and then re-nominated by George H.W. Bush.)
From ProtectMarriage.com General Counsel Andy Pugno:
“California voters spoke clearly on Prop 8, and we’re glad to see their votes will remain valid while the legal challenges work their way up through the courts. 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.”
From Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson:
“Today’s 9th Circuit order expediting appeal of Chief Judge Walker’s persuasive decision striking down Prop 8 and maintaining a stay during the appellate review, is a disappointing delay for many Californians who hoped to celebrate the freedom to marry and full inclusion in society as soon as possible. But there are many twists in the road to justice, and we are encouraged by the court’s setting a fast pace for the appeal, revealing that the judges understand how important a quick end to the exclusion from marriage is to gay couples, their loved ones, and all Americans who believe in equality under the law. While the lawyers make the case for the freedom to marry in the courts of law, we have more months in which to make our case in the court of public opinion. The evidence at trial overwhelmingly confirmed that there is no good reason for withholding the freedom to marry from committed couples, and the Governor, the Attorney General, a majority of Californians, and a majority of Americans agree with Judge Walker that the freedom to marry helps families, while hurting no one. Prop 8 should never have been on the ballot and we look forward to seeing its stain removed from the law books, as we push forward on other fronts across the country.”
From Alliance Defense Fund Litigation Staff Counsel Jim Campbell:
“It made no sense to impose a radical change in marriage on the people of California before all appeals on their behalf are heard, so the 9th Circuit’s decision is clearly the right call. Refusing to stay the decision would only have created more legal confusion surrounding any same-sex unions entered while the appeal is pending. This case has just begun. ADF and the rest of the legal team are confident that the right of Americans to protect marriage in their state constitutions will ultimately be upheld.”