Same-sex marriage proponents celebrated an important victory Tuesday in San Francisco following the 9th Circuit Court’s ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Backers of Proposition 8 were expected to appeal, either by asking for a review by a full panelof the court or by appealing directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Same-sex marriage appeal puts spotlight on personal lives of those judging — and reporting on — the issue
Same-sex marriage opponents complained that U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker — who this summer overturned Proposition 8, a 2008 state constitutional amendment banning the practice — should have recused himself because he is gay (a suggestion Walker has declined to discuss). Walker’s sexual orientation will be front and center in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.
This puts journalists, too, in a funny position. Who will believe a gay reporter covering the question about whether a gay judge should be disqualified?
The task facing the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is determining who — if anyone — has the standing to appeal last month’s ruling overturning Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in California. Both the original backers of the initiative and Imperial County are seeking that status in briefs filed last week. A three-judge panel of the court will hear arguments in December.
Backers of Proposition 8 have filed an appeal to keep a stay in force to prevent gay marriages from resuming. Federal Judge Vaughn Walker earlier ruled the measure unconstitutional and has placed a stay on same-sex marriages that is set to expire on Wednesday. Late Thursday backers of the measure filed their appeal with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A federal judge ruled Thursday that same-sex couples will be able to marry on Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. The ruling could be reversed if opponents of gay marriage appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The decision will lift the stay that last week he placed on his own judgement that a statewide ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. On Thursday morning scores of people gathered on the front steps of San Francisco City Hall to mark the occasion, with some same-sex couples hoping to get married on the spot if the stay were lifted immediately. There were also supporters of Proposition 8, the initiative that ended gay marriage in 2008. (READ THE RULING BY JUDGE VAUGHN R. WALKER — PDF)
David Boies, one of the two attorneys in the successful case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage, said the case evoked fights he participated in during the civil rights movement decades ago, calling opposition to equality the “last bastion of official, state-sponsored discrimination in this country.” He spoke at the Commonwealth Club Thursday night.
A federal judge Wednesday struck down California’s ban on gay marriage, but that decision is unlikely to be the last word. The case will eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, legal analysts predicted. Proponents of 2008’s Proposition 8 are expected to appeal judge Vaughn R. Walker’s ruling that the measure was unconstitutional. The first step to the Supreme Court would be the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Five months after it began, closing arguments in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial are taking place today. U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who is deciding the case, recently submitted dozens of probing legal questions for the teams representing both sides in the case to address in this final phase.
Since the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008, there has been a substantial divide among gay-rights groups over how soon they should go to voters to try and reverse the ban against same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, a legal effort to reverse the law will return to the courtroom on June 16 for closing arguments.
Legislation that would make it easier — and less expensive — for same-sex domestic partners and married couples to split up has cleared the state Assembly and is now heading to the Senate. Currently, couples who had registered as domestic partners and later married have to go through separate processes to dissolve each agreement. The new law would allow for one process to handle both matters.