Constitutional Law

Judge Lifts Stay; Same-Sex Marriages May Resume Aug. 18


The federal judge who ruled California’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional has declined to permanently stay his ruling. But he did allow a temporary hold on his order, giving Prop 8 supporters time to appeal the ruling.

Supporters have until Aug. 18 to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. But only those who have standing, those impacted by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s order, will be able to appeal, the Los Angeles Times reports. Read the 11-page final stay order (PDF).

The campaign for Proposition 8 plans to file an immediate appeal.

“If the trial court’s decision is eventually reversed, refusing to stay the decision will senselessly create legal uncertainty surrounding any same-sex unions entered while the appeal is pending,” the sponsors said in a prepared statement. The Times notes that the statement doesn’t address Walker’s concerns about standing.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown had previously urged Walker to permit same-sex marriages to resume, saying the state was prepared to handle any influx.

The appeal is likely to be heard by the motions panel for the month of August, which the Recorder reports includes Senior Judge Edward Leavy, a Reagan appointee, and two Clinton appointees: Judges Michael Hawkins and Sidney Thomas.

Earlier this week during its annual meeting in San Francisco, the ABA backed a resolution supporting marriage equality.

The resolution has been gaining momentum ever since Walker’s Aug. 4 ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution.

On Saturday, Laurence Tribe, the U.S. Justice Department’s senior counselor for access to justice, speculated during a program at the annual meeting that there is a good chance the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold the district court ruling, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy likely providing the swing vote.

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