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Notice of Appeal Filed in CA Gay Marriage Case

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on August 05, 2010 5:59 PM

What a difference a day makes. Or in this case, less than a day, as the proponents of California's ban on gay marriage, Prop 8, filed late on Wednesday their notice of appeal on the district court decision in that case. As discussed in a prior post, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled yesterday that the California law was an unconstitutional violation of the rights of same sex couples.

While the notice of appeal was filed promptly, the actual hearing on the appellate briefs in the case will take a bit longer, unless the court decides to expedite the case. According to the Mercury News, the schedule for the case was set this week, with Prop 8 proponents' (the appellants) court papers due in November and the opponents (appellees) due the following month.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will be the next court to hear the challenge to Prop 8. This is the appellate level court for the federal system and covers these western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. After the 9th Circuit makes their decision, the losing party may petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court is at liberty to hear or refuse the case. Some legal experts think the Court will decline the case because it is a state issue to decide. Others, however, think it is time to settle the issue because the varying states' laws are causing confusion and disruption in the law.

Before the case reaches the appeals court, the District Court will have to make a decision on whether or not to stay the decision. A stay will keep the status quo in place until the appeals court has made its decision. Reuters reports Judge Walker has issued a Friday, August 6 deadline for the parties file their motions in favor of or against the stay. Attorneys for the appellees (opponents of Prop 8) have told Reuters they plan to oppose the stay.

In the meantime, the issue of gay marriage will surely move back from the courts to the ballot box, especially as it will be a point of contention during the upcoming California gubernatorial race between Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown.

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