Speedy Return to Gay Marriages, Urges Brown
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The attorneys who successfully sued to strike down California’s same-sex marriage ban have joined Attorney General Jerry Brown in urging a federal appeals court to quickly allow gay marriages to resume in the state.
Theodore Olson and David Boies, the high-profile lawyers representing two couples, told the appeals court that same-sex couples are being hurt every day Proposition 8 is enforced and should not be denied their civil rights while the ban’s sponsors pursue an appeal of last week’s decision overturning the 2008 measure.
"Indeed, the only harm at issue here is that suffered by Plaintiffs and other gay and lesbian Californians each day that Proposition 8’s discriminatory and irrational deprivation of their constitutional rights remains in force," the lawyers argued in a filing late Friday.
Brown, who is the Democratic nominee for governor, said in a separate filing that there was no reason for the 9th Circuit to grant the emergency stay request because state and local agencies would suffer no harm by being required to sanction same-sex marriages. County clerks across the state already are gearing up to do so next week, he said.
The swiftly drafted legal papers came in response to efforts by same-sex marriage opponents to get the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals to block a lower court judge’s ruling striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional from taking effect next week. If the 9th Circuit refuses to intervene, it would clear the way for same-sex couples to marry starting after the close of business Wednesday.
Protect Marriage, the coalition of religious and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, has appealed U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s Aug. 4 ruling that found the voter-approved law unconstitutional. After Walker said on Thursday that he planned to finalize his ruling on Wednesday at 5 p.m., the group’s lawyers asked the 9th Circuit to prevent any gay marriages while the appeal is pending.
They argued the appeals court should grant an emergency stay "to avoid the confusion and irreparable injury that would flow from the creation of a class of purported same-sex marriages."
Depending on how the 9th Circuit rules, same-sex couples could begin tying the knot in California as early as next week or have to wait while the appeal works its way through the court and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court as well.