Prop. 8: Gay marriage still on hold in California, says Ninth Circuit
The Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday not to lift the 'temporary' stay on same-sex marriages in California, imposed in August 2010.
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In his experience, such timing is normal, he says. “While everyone is eager for resolution of the case, it is important that the Court take the time necessary to fully consider and correctly apply and interpret the relevant law.”Skip to next paragraph
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Had the court ruled to lift the stay, "thousands of couples would have immediately gotten married," says Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California – Irvine Law School. “If Prop. 8 is ultimately upheld, there would be the question of what to do about those marriages. This is simplest in terms of preserving the status quo. But as a matter of law, it is harder to justify. A stay should be issued only if the party seeking it has a substantial likelihood of ultimately prevailing and I am skeptical of that.”
Pro-Prop 8. advocates highlighted the pragmatism of the court's ruling. “The consequences of getting a reversal and having same-sex couples already married are pretty enormous,” says Chris Gacek, senior fellow at the Family Research Council. The ruling "deals with the realities of the problems of letting open the flood gates – and then having to undo it."
Gay rights groups say they are hurt and outraged. Some activists have vowed to expand their tactics with renewed vigor. “The implication of this ruling is clear: We cannot wait on the courts, which in America should be the guarantor of equal treatment under the law for all Americans,” says Tom Watson, co-founder and Board Chair of Love Honor Cherish. “It is time for all those who believe that our country’s promise of equality extends to lesbian and gay Americans to seek to overturn the state bans on same-sex marriage, whether in state legislatures or at the ballot box, as well as to overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in Congress.”
Others look at the immediate impact of the ruling on gay and lesbian couples in California. “The Ninth Circuit’s decision is disappointing because there are thousands of same-sex couples all over California who want to get married and can’t,” says James Esseks, Director of the ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & AIDS Project.
“But the real, lasting importance of this case," he says, "is that proponents of Prop. 8 had the chance to explain how traditional marriage is harmed by letting same sex couples marry – and they couldn’t do it."