Appeals court issues stay of Prop. 8 ruling

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.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    I want to marry my neighbor’s horse, Champ!

  • John W

    Elwood, the horse would have to consent and probably has better judgement.

    As for implications of the Court of Appeals granting the stay, I hope that’s not a signal that they see a high probability that they will overturn the District Court ruling on Prop. 8. 52 percent of Americans now support marriage equality. That’s huge progress from just a few years ago. As Gavin Newsom would say, “it’s gonna happen, like it or not!”

  • Elwood

    “52 percent of Americans now support marriage equality.”

    Coincidentally, that’s the same percentage of CALIFORNIANS who voted for Prop. 8.

    “That’s huge progress” The majority of Californians don’t think so.

    And who gives a **** what the mayor of Fairyland thinks?

  • John W

    Re: what Elwood Says

    “The majority of Californians don’t think so.” We’ll see about that next time it’s on the ballot. To be precise, it was a majority of those who voted in the Prop. 8 election, representing about 18% of the population.

    “Who gives a **** what the mayor of Fairyland things?” Probably nobody. Doesn’t matter. Still gonna happen, like it or not, with or without the Supreme Court’s help. Time is on the side of justice.

  • Elwood

    Well, John W the only thing we have to go by is the election results.

    Who knows what nonvoters think or if they do?

    I’m betting they don’t.

    “Still gonna happen, like it or not,”

    We’ll see.

  • Paul

    Political sluts & whores and pseudo civic minded moral midgets have invaded the government, the courts, and even those churches which used to be reasonably Biblical 50-75 years ago. They have all pretty much sold out to the court of Godless reasoning. These bastards go judge shopping when the voters have made it clear twice what is right. I guess we have actually already lost the soul of our country. To even have to vote for queers to get married is so far down the toilet morally, it goes way beyond any sense of reason. The fool has said in his/her heart that there is no God. Well, God is letting the lesser “gods” destroy our country for moldy bread. Read Romans chapter one. It was written almost 2,000 years ago. The consequences of sin always destroys a nation when society turns away from God. No Jesus, no peace.