What a big day for California! [Also – apologies for earlier outages. We were swamped with traffic after Prop 8 and our servers kept crashing] A wrapup:
*Judge Vaughn Walker denied the stay of his decision lifting the Prop 8 gay marriage ban, but issued a temporary stay until August 18 so the Court of Appeals can look into the matter. This means that there will be no marriages until after the 18th – and then only if the Court of Appeals either refuses to look at the case or uphold’s Walker’s decision. After the Court of Appeals makes a decision, then either side can appeal to Justice Kennedy – who oversees the courts in California – and then the entire Supreme Court.
All this is only about the stay on overturning Prop 8, not Prop 8 itself. Whether or not there will be an appeal of Walker’s decision to overturn Prop 8 and restore gay marriage (and there may not be an appeal) will be decided separately.
*Read Judge Walker’s Prop 8 stay denial.
*Read John Culhane’s clear-eyed analysis.
* Read NCLR’s great breakdown of what happens next.
*Read Richard Kim’s look at why the anti-marriage movement is falling apart.
“In deciding whether a stay is appropriate, the court
looks to four factors:
(1) whether proponents have made a strong showing that they are likely to succeed on the merits;
(2) whether proponents will be irreparably injured absent a stay;
(3) whether the stay will substantially injure other interested parties; and
(4) whether the stay is in the public interest.”
* Response from plaintiff’s lawyer Ted Olson:
“The overwhelming evidence at trial established beyond any doubt that Proposition 8 denies gay men and lesbians the fundamental right to marry and treats them unequally, without any rational basis for doing so, and that it causes them irreparable and immediate harm.
* Response from Lambda Legal:
“Although we’re disappointed that Judge Walker elected today to give the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals a chance to consider the issue of the stay, we are gratified that he has denied the request to put his historic ruling on hold during any appeals.
“He has applied the standard legal tests in the standard way and reached the only logical conclusions given the overwhelming evidence produced at trial: nobody is harmed – especially not the backers of Prop 8 – by restoring equality in marriage to California’s same-sex couples. Nobody suffers when everyone is treated equally. There’s enough equality to go around.
“To maintain the stay, the Ninth Circuit will have to find that Prop 8’s proponents are likely to win on appeal or will suffer irreparable harm if same-sex couples again are allowed to marry. But at this point, the truth is crystal clear, as last week’s decision explains: the only people suffering harm are lesbian and gay couples whose constitutional rights are violated every day that Prop 8 remains in force, and who simply seek the same rights everyone else already enjoys.”
* Response from Equality California:
“Monumental! U. S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has denied Yes on 8 proponents their request that he stay his decision which declared that Prop 8 unconstitutional, paving the way for couples to get married.
” This is an incredibly joyful moment in our history, not only for all of the committed couples who will finally be able to get married, but also because a fundamental constitutional freedom has been restored in our great state.
“Our victory today is due in no small part to the State of California’s stance on the case. Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown both asked the court to lift the stay and allow marriages to commence. Both have refused to defend Prop. 8 in court, preventing the State’s talented attorneys and vast legal resources from playing a role in this case.”
* Tweeted response from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage:
Walker has taken his activism to a next level, refusing to stay decision. This will backfire at #SCOTUS.
* Response from the anti-gay Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council:
“Once again, Chief Judge Walker has disregarded the will of the people of California by interpreting the U.S. Constitution in a way that imposes his own personal beliefs. We support Protect Marriage’s immediate appeal to the Ninth Circuit to stay this decision until the conclusion of the case.
“Voters in 30 states have protected marriage in their state constitutions because they understand the importance of a mom and a dad to children. The social science data is overwhelming and clear – children do best when raised by a mom and dad. Judge Walker’s opinion completely stepped over these findings by the international research community. Now, by refusing to stay his ruling until all appeals are adjudicated, Judge Walker is cynically attempting to limit the options of the appellate courts by creating a legion of same-sex couples whose marriages could be nullified. In essence, Judge Walker is presenting an unnecessary challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court.”