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Breaking: 9th Circuit Says No Marriage Equality While Prop 8 Being Decided

Breaking: 9th Circuit Says No Marriage Equality While Prop 8 Being Decided

by Karen Ocamb on March 23, 2011

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ motion to lift the temporary stay in the federal challenge to Prop 8.  Marriage equality advocates are disappointed, noting that each day of delay is a denial to same sex couples of the fundamental constitutional right to marry and causes those couples pain.

Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, issued this statement:

“Several weeks ago, we filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asking the Court to lift its stay and allow California’s gay and lesbian couples to marry. We felt then, as we do now, that it is decidedly unjust and unreasonable to expect California’s gay and lesbian couples to put their lives on hold and suffer daily discrimination as second-class citizens while their US District Court victory comes to its final conclusion.

It is un-American to deprive gay and lesbian couples of their fundamental constitutional right to marry. These are adults in committed, loving relationships who just want to live their lives without government interference.

Last August, the US District Court declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional. We believe that the courts will permanently secure the freedom to marry for all Californians. AFER is committed to ensuring that all Americans have the freedom to marry.”

Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, and Lambda Legal recently filed a joint amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asking the court to lift the stay.  Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors issued this statement:

“Today’s ruling is a major setback for same-sex couples and their families who must continue living every day in legal limbo without the basic freedoms and protections guaranteed to them by our nation’s Constitution. Every day same-sex couples are denied the freedom to marry, their families suffer significant harm.

“We cannot stand idle as the courts continue to deny our basic humanity. We must demand our equality and speak out against this injustice. We call on members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and our friends and allies to speak to five people you know today to let them know that denying loving couples the freedom to marry causes irreparable harm and ask them to stand with us as we continue our struggle for full equality.”

As EQCA notes in their press release, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional in August 2010. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay almost immediately, preventing same-sex couples from marrying while the case is on appeal. This Jan. 4, the 9th Circuit asked the California Supreme Court for guidance on whether that court thought the sponsors of Prop 8 have standing to pursue an appeal in the federal appeals case. On Feb. 16, the California high court said  that it would hear oral arguments on the issue “as early as September,” meaning, EQCA says, “a decision likely would not come until the end of this year at the earliest.”

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World Spinner
March 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

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tracy faust March 29, 2011 at 10:05 AM

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Jussara December 1, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Judy, thank you for your lovely note. Prop 8 was a kick in the teeth like no other. I talk in my book, THE L LIFE, about Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, the first coulpe married in California during that brief moment of freedom. Del died a shortly after their wedding, and I noted that after 56 years together, two months and nine days was all the time they were allowed to be married.


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