Gay Marriage in California Put on Hold by Appeals Court


Well, that didn’t last long.

After his strongly worded decision rendering California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker lifted his stay last week, effective this Wednesday. Gay marriages were set to start again at 5 PM PDT tomorrow, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has nixed that. Gay and lesbian couples — some of whom were already lined up at marriage bureaus last week before Judge Walker’s ruling on the stay — will have to wait until after the first next series of appeals are heard, in December — if they’re allowed to marry at all, that is.

The Ninth Circuit is letting Proposition 8 supporters try to appeal the decision, even though the losers in Perry v. Schwarzenegger — California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his Attorney General, Jerry Brown — have declined to appeal the case themselves.

However, they might not get very far on the issue of standing. As the Prop8TrialTracker.Com explains, the Ninth Circuit ” Court specifically orders the Prop 8 proponents to show why this case should not be dismissed for lack of standing…This is very good news for us. It shows that the Court has serious doubts about whether the Appellants have standing. Even better, the Court is expressing an opinion that its inclination is that the case should be dismissed. That being said, the panel that issued this Order (the motions panel) is not the same panel that will hear that case on the merits. The merits panel will be selected shortly before December 6th and we don’t know the three judges who will be on the merits panel. But this is a very good sign that the appeal could be dismissed on the ground of standing alone.”

Around the gay Internet, no one is pretending this isn’t tremendously disappointing. But the marriage equality legal folks are trying to focus on the fact that the appeal has been fast-tracked. The American Foundation for Equal rights released a statement saying the “expedited hearing schedule ensures that we will triumph over Prop. 8 as quickly as possible.” Via Joe My God, plaintiff lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies refer to the December 6 hearing date as a ” highly expedited schedule.”

Olson is quoted as saying, “We are very gratified that the Ninth Circuit has recognized the importance and pressing nature of this case and the need to resolve it as quickly as possible by issuing this extremely expedited briefing schedule. As Chief Judge Walker found, Proposition 8 harms gay and lesbian citizens each day it remains on the books. We look forward to moving to the next stage of this case.”

Something tells us this will get fewer Facebook “likes” than other recent gay marriage news blog posts.