California Ignores Rules, Issues Same-sex Marriage Licenses Early

By:  Dave Bohon
California Ignores Rules, Issues Same-sex Marriage Licenses Early

A federal appeals court has helped homosexuals get a jump on same-sex marriage in California, lifting a stay in apparent violation of the U.S. Supreme Court's procedural rules. 

On June 30 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy refused a request by defenders of California's Prop 8 marriage protection amendment to halt a premature order by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifting the ban on same-sex marriage licenses in the state. The Ninth Circuit made its move June 28, two days after the High Court dealt a fatal blow to the state constitutional amendment, ruling that Prop 8's defenders did not have legal standing to appeal a lower court's decision finding the amendment, which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional.

Last year the Ninth Circuit issued a stay on the lower court's ruling against Prop 8 as the amendment's defenders appealed to the Supreme Court, temporarily keeping the ban on same-sex marriages in the state. The Ninth Circuit indicated that the stay would remain in place “until the final disposition by the Supreme Court.”

Baptist Press News reported that under Supreme Court rules, “the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to request a rehearing, and the court said it would not finalize its judgment in the case at least until after that waiting period elapsed.” But the Ninth Circuit jumped the gun, lifting its own stay two days after the Supreme Court announced its ruling in the Prop 8 case, “and dozens of California residents proceeded with acquiring same-sex marriage licenses,” reported BP News.

Prop 8's legal defense team, headed by attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, pointed out that, under the High Court's procedural rules, the Ninth Circuit should have held its action until the Supreme Court had provided a certified copy of its judgment — something that, as of July 1, still had not happened.

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