Foes of gay marriage are cheering a
ruling that has put an indefinite hold on gay marriages in
In a ruling announced Monday, the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals set aside a lower court's order striking
down the state's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, as the case moves
into the appeals process.
Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker
ruled two weeks ago that the ban was unconstitutional because it
violates the right of gay men and lesbians to equal protection and
He put his ruling on hold until
Wednesday at 5PM, at which time, without the appeals court's
intervention, gay marriages would have resumed.
“Today the Ninth Circuit took the
first step in doing the right thing for the people of California and
the tens of millions across the United States who not only believe in
true marriage but also the rule of law,” Tony Perkins, president of
the Family Research Council, a social conservative group opposed to
gay rights, said.
During an appearance on CBS' Face
the Nation, Perkins
said Walker's ruling was flawed because he had “ignored a lot of
the social science in his opinion.” Plaintiffs' lawyer David
Boies called such evidence “junk science,” on the program.
Andy Pugno, general counsel for Protect
Marriage, the sponsor of the initiative, also cheered the ruling.
“Invalidating the people's vote based
on just one judge's opinion would not have been appropriate, and
would have shaken the people's confidence in our elections and the
right to vote itself,” he said.
Protect Marriage is a coalition of
social conservative groups that includes the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), the California Catholic
Conference and various evangelical churches.
The group intervened to defend the law
after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown
refused. Both officials had asked the court to allow gay marriages
to resume on Wednesday.
Lawyers for Protect Marriage had argued
for the stay to “avoid the confusion and irreparable injury that
would flow from the creation of a class of purported same-sex
Gay groups said the ruling was
disappointing but found solace in the fact that the court has
fast-tracked the case.
“[T]ere are many twists in the road
to justice, and we are encouraged by the court's setting a fast pace
for the appeal, revealing that the judges understand how important a
quick end to the exclusion from marriage is to gay couples, their
loved ones, and all Americans who believe in equality under the law,”
Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Mary, said.
Voters approved Proposition 8 five
months after the California Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in
The three-judge panel is scheduled to
hear arguments in a San Francisco courtroom the week of December 6.