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Religious Tolerance logo

2010: Lawsuit to overturn California's
Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage (SSM)

2010-AUG-16 to AUG-30:
Events following Judge Walker's ruling

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2010-AUG-16: Court of appeals issues injunction:

Two days before they could have married, the hopes of thousands of loving, committed same-sex couples were at least temporarily dashed when a randomly selected panel of three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended the stay of Judge Walker's ruling. This will probably keep SSM unavailable until at least the appeals court issues its final ruling -- probably sometime during the first half of 2011.

The court asked both sides to file their written arguments by 2010-NOV-01. Hearings are expected to begin on DEC-06. This is a faster pace than is normal, presumably because the court realizes the importance of the case to same-sex couples and their children. A new three judge panel will be randomly chosen for the case.

Andy Pugno, general counsel for was pleased. He said:

"California voters spoke clearly on Prop. 8 and we're glad to see their votes will remain valid while the legal challenges work their way up through the courts. Invalidating the people's vote based on just one judge's opinion ... would have shaken the people's confidence in our elections."

On the other hand, allowing loving committed same-sex couples to marry while the case crawls through the courts, would have increased the public's respect for the U.S. Constitution -- particularly for the 14th amendment and its due process and equal protection clauses that Judge Walker showed clearly make Proposition 8 unconstitutional. It would also respect the present-day opinion of most Californian voers, which has switched since 2008-NOV and now favors allowing same-sex marriage (SSM) in the state.

Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California said:

"It's heartbreaking for the couples who were hoping to be married this week. It's really shameful to be treated like you're a tennis ball in a match."

Ted Boutrous of the plaintiff's legal team said:

"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.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said:

"I am heartened by the court's decision to resolve the appeal on an expedited schedule. Today, I am more confident than ever that justice and equal rights under the law will ultimately prevail. 1

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2010-AUG-30: Petition before Court of Appeals:

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) petioned the California Supreme Court to order the Attorney General Brown and Governor Schwarzenegger to defend Proposition 8 before the Court of Appeals. 2 The PJI may have been motivated to file this petition because of concern that the proponents of Prop. 8 might be found by the appeals court to not have standing to pursue the case.

It is difficult to see how either the AG or Governor could do a competent job defending Prop. 8 because both of them have stated in public that they agree with Judge Walker's assesment that Prop. 8 is clearly in violation of two clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and was thus unconstitutional.

"Fiona64" posted a comment on the Sacramento Bee article quoted above, saying:

"Part of the oath of office for the Governor and the AG is to support and defend the US Constitution. Prop 8 blatantly violates the equal protection and due process clauses of said document -- and has done since day one. The Governor and the AG are doing their jobs, despite what the ReBiblicans [sic] want you to believe.

The Pacific Jusice Insitute is a fundamentalist Christian legal defense group whose president, Brad Dacus, is probably best known for saying in 2008 that if California voters failed to pass Prop. 8 it would be similar to failing to stop the Nazis. 3

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "California same-sex marriages on hold pending appeal," USA Today, 2010-AUG-17, Page 2A. Online at:
  2. Susan Ferriss, "Supporters pressure Brown, Schwarzenegger to defend Prop. 8 in court," The Sacramento Bee, 2010-SEP-02, at:
  3. Kyle, "Rove, Dobson Headline Pacific Justice Institute Banquet," Right Wing Watch, 2010-MAY-13, at:

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Site navigation:

Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Couples > California > here

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Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2010-AUG-15
Latest update: 2010-SEP-09
Author: B.A. Robinson

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