Judge Vaughn Walker

Court halts Calif. gay marriages pending appeal

By Lisa Leff-Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO | A federal appeals court put same-sex weddings in California on hold indefinitely Monday while it considers the constitutionality of the state’s gay-marriage ban.

The decision, issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, trumps a lower court judge’s order that would have allowed county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday.

Lawyers for the two gay couples that challenged the ban said Monday they would not appeal the panel’s decision on the stay to the Supreme Court.

In its two-page order granting the stay, the 9th Circuit agreed to expedite its consideration of the Proposition 8 case. The court plans to hear the case during the week of Dec. 6 after moving up deadlines for both sides to file their written arguments by Nov. 1.

“We are very gratified that the 9th Circuit has recognized the importance and the pressing nature of this case by issuing this extremely expedited briefing schedule,” said Ted Boutrous, a member of the plaintiffs’ legal team.

A different three-judge panel than the one that issued Monday’s decision will be assigned to decide the constitutional question.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker decided last week to allow gay marriages to go forward after ruling the ban violated equal protection and due process rights of gays guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

The Proposition 8 legal team quickly appealed Judge Walker‘s ruling in the case many think will end up before the Supreme Court.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/aug/16/court-halts-calif-gay-marriages-pending-appeal/

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