Marriage Remains on Hold for California Gays

California’s ban on same-sex marriage remains in effect after the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals refused to allow marriages to resume while the Prop. 8 appeal winds its way through the courts.

In a one-sentence order today, the three judges on the federal court panel said they had reviewed the arguments and the applicable legal standards, and “we deny plaintiffs’ motion at this time.” The judges were Stephen Reinhardt, Michael Hawkins and N. Randy Smith.

Prop. 8 supporters on the religious right, like Focus on the Family, engaged in much handwringing over Judge Reinhardt, calling the Pres. Carter appointee “ultra-liberal” and “supportive of the gay legal agenda.” It will be interesting to see them praise him for a change.

Prop. 8 opponents were quick to point out the immorality of the ruling. Chad Griffin with the American Foundation for Equal Rights said of the ruling: “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.”

The National Organization for Marriage, forgetting that real human beings are affected by such a ruling, showed its usual class with an “in your face” to attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies proclaiming: “the Dream Team of Olson and Boies continue their unbroken string of losing actions in every court not run by Judge Walker!”

Vaughn Walker is the federal judge who ruled the 2008 ballot measure unconstitutional back in August.

The ruling means gay and lesbian couples must continue to wait for marriage rights. The state court won’t take the issue up again until September, and then it may take three more months for the case to get back to federal court. The Courage Campaign points out that time could run out for some couples.

“Ed and Derence of Palm Springs, a couple that has been together for 40 years, demonstrates that lives are in the balance. Ed suffers from advancing Alzheimer’s. The California Supreme Court and now the 9th Circuit have decided to make Ed and Derence wait at least 9 more months before they might enjoy the fundamental right to marry. By then, it might not matter anymore.”

I’m sure NOM will have something snappy and compassionate to say about that when the time comes.