9th Circuit Appeals Court Indefinitely Halts Marriage For California Gays And LesbiansSubmitted by bobbyw24 on Tue, 08/17/2010 - 07:10
Court Rules No Gay Marriages Pending Appeal
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court put same-sex weddings in California on hold indefinitely Monday while it considers the constitutionality of the state's gay marriage ban.
The decision, issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, trumped a lower court judge's order that would have allowed county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday.
Lawyers for the two gay couples that 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 expedite its consideration of the Proposition 8 case by scheduling oral arguments for the week of Dec. 6.
"We are very gratified that the 9th Circuit has recognized the importance and the pressing nature of this case by issuing this extremely expedited briefing schedule," said Ted Boutrous, a member of the plaintiffs' legal team. "Proposition 8 harms gay and lesbian citizens every day it remains on the books."
Attorneys for sponsors 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.
"I think the basic notion that this case is not final until it's gone through the complete appellate process really prevailed," said Douglas Napier, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal firm.
"Rather than have this kind of pingpong effect of having the decision overturned, appealed and then overturned again, it's better to have this kind of decision," he said.
Under the timetable laid out Monday, it was doubtful a decision would come down from the 9th Circuit before next year.
A different three-judge panel than the one that issued Monday's decision will be assigned to decide the constitutional question that many believe will eventually end up before the Supreme Court and further delay a final outcome.