Appeals Court Denies Same-Sex Marriages While It Reviews Prop. 8

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March 24, 2011
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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by same-sex couples to allow them to marry while the appellate court reviews a lower court ruling that Proposition 8 violates the federal Constitution.

In a one-sentence order, the three judges who denied the request cited a 2006 ruling that a stay (or an order suspending a judge's ruling) should only be lifted if the facts in the case have "changed sufficiently."

The judges are grappling with the question of whether the sponsors of Proposition 8, a coalition of conservative religious groups, have the legal right, or standing, to defend the measure on appeal. Former Governor Schwarzenegger, former Attorney General now Governor Jerry Brown, and current Attorney General Kamala Harris have refused to defend the measure in court because they believe that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The federal judges asked the California Supreme Court for an opinion on the question of whether initiative sponsors have legal standing to defend Proposition 8. The state high court has tentatively scheduled oral arguments on the issue for September and can take up to three months to issue an opinion before returning the case to the federal court.

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