|Prop 8 federal case delayed for several more months|
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A huge new delay was introduced into the federal case against California's Proposition 8 on Feb. 16.
The case is before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which, after hearing oral arguments in December, punted off a question to the California Supreme Court.
The California Supreme Court now has decided, unanimously, that it will indeed answer the question and has set up a briefing schedule, to be followed by oral arguments no sooner than September.
The 9th Circuit asked the California Supreme Court if the people who put Prop 8 on the ballot have any legal right, under California law, to be in court arguing to overturn last summer's federal District Court ruling that struck down Prop 8 as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Those proponents, ProtectMarriage.com, want to defend Prop 8 because California's governor and attorney general and everyone else who was sued in the federal Prop 8 case have refused to defend the constitutional amendment that, in 2008, re-banned same-sex marriage in the nation's most populous state.
The 9th Circuit decided it couldn't proceed with the case without hearing the California Supreme Court's opinion on ProtectMarriage's state-level right to defend Prop 8, which the 9th Circuit could then take under consideration in deciding whether to grant ProtectMarriage federal "standing" to appeal.
If ProtectMarriage is found to have no standing, then the case has no proper appellants and the 9th Circuit won't hear the appeal. Should that happen, the most likely outcome would be that the District Court ruling that struck down Prop 8 would take effect, and gay couples in California would be able to get married again -- although the "standing" question itself could end up being appealed by ProtectMarriage to the U.S. Supreme Court.