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Same-sex marriages on hold in Prop 8 appeal

August 17, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Same-sex couples in California will have to wait to get married following an important decision by a federal appeals court. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put same-sex unions on hold on Monday until the end of the year, while it considers the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

On Aug. 4, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled California's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The judge then issued a stay allowing six days for the appeals court to review his ruling.

That left many hopeful that same-sex marriage would resume this Wednesday when Walker's stay would have expired. Monday's ruling will keep the stay in place longer likely until at least December.

While some applaud the ruling, others say the court still needs time to make up its mind.

"This is a big decision. I don't think there's anything like it anywhere in the country. So when you break new ground, plaintiffs and parties have to expect that the higher court will keep things status quo until they've had a chance to hear the arguments and render their own opinion," said California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

"We are thrilled with the 9th Circuit's decision, and we really feel it favors the vote of the people," said Dr. Laverne Tolbert of ProtectMarriage.com.

West Hollywood City Hall was preparing to issue marriages licenses starting Wednesday, but that will have to wait.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the case the week of Dec. 6.

Both sides have until Nov. 1 to present written arguments.

Currently, same-sex couples can legally wed only in Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.


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