Supporters of Proposition 8 have asked
the Supreme Court to stop the weddings of gay and lesbian couples
taking place in California.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on
Friday lifted a stay on a lower court ruling declaring Proposition 8
to be unconstitutional. The appeals court acted two days after the
Supreme Court ruled that interveners in the case did not have legal
standing to defend the law. Within hours of removing the hold, the
two couples who had in 2009 filed the case were married.
8 plaintiffs marry in San Francisco, Los Angeles.)
Attorneys with the Christian
conservative Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on Saturday filed an
emergency motion with the high court.
“The Ninth Circuit's June 28, 2013
Order purporting to dissolve the stay … is the latest in a long
line of judicial irregularities that have unfairly thwarted
Petitioners' defense of California's marriage amendment,” the
document states. “Failing to correct the appellate court's
actions threatens to undermine the public's confidence in its legal
According to the AP, 81 gay and lesbian
couples on Friday applied for and received marriage licenses in San
Francisco, one of only a few clerk's offices around the state which
stayed open late.
Vikram Armar, a constitutional law
professor with the University of California, Davis law school, said
that the appeals court acted within its power.
“As a matter of practice, most lower
federal courts wait to act,” he told the AP. “But there is
nothing that limits them from acting sooner.”
“As a formal matter, the Ninth
Circuit did not put the Supreme Court's ruling in the Proposition 8
case into effect prematurely,” the
blog wrote. “The Supreme Court held that the proponents of
Proposition 8 could not file appeals in federal court. That ruling
says nothing about imposing or lifting a stay on same-sex marriages.
The court of appeals likely has the authority to act with respect to
its own previously entered stay, which is a form of controlling its
own docket. Although the court of appeals had previously stated that
the stay would remain in effect until the Supreme Court's ruling was
final, it presumably can change its mind.”