Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ninth Circuit sends standing question in Prop. 8 appeal to the California Supreme Court

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has sent the question of whether official proponents of Proposition 8 have standing under state law to appeal its overturn to the California Supreme Court.
The standing issue arose because former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former state Attorney General and now-Gov. Jerry Brown declined to defend the 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage against a civil rights lawsuit.

The state officials were the original defendants in the federal lawsuit filed in 2009 by two same-sex couples.

The detour of the case to the state court could delay a final federal court ruling in the case for at least several months.

In addition, if the state court concludes that the proposition's sponsors and their committee, Protect Marriage, have no right to appeal, the federal court could dismiss the appeal.

A dismissal would leave in place an August ruling in which U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco said the measure violated the federal constitutional rights to equal treatment and due process.
What I would like to see happen is for the California Supreme Court to find that the proponents do have standing to appeal, and for the Ninth Circuit and, later, the US Supreme Court to uphold Judge Walker's ruling to overturn it, because that would mean gay marriage throughout the country.  However, while I imagine that the Ninth Circuit would uphold Walker's ruling, I've got serious doubts about the US Supreme Court right now, so if the California Supreme Court is to rule that the sponsors of the proposition have no standing, I'll take it.

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