Prop 8 appeal oral arguments heard

A panel of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments yesterday in the appeal of a lower court’s ruling that California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, resulting from the voter initiative Proposition 8, unfairly revoked constitutional equal-protection and due-process rights from gay couples.

NYTimes article here; Towleroad analysis here.

What I’m getting out of these articles are three main points:

First, that the proponents of Prop 8—the appellants—are relying on the same arguments that Judge Vaughn Walker found wanting in the lower court case.

Second, that the appellants may not have suffered harm, in the legal sense, under the lower court’s ruling and thus may not even have standing to appeal—and California state officials up to the governor and attorney general have declined to appeal.

Third, that the court wishes to tailor its ruling as narrowly as possible (which shouldn’t surprise anyone who remembers high-school civics) and that attorneys for the two couples who brought suit to overturn Prop 8 are playing to this by stating that Judge Walker’s ruling applies only to the counties the two couples reside in, Los Angeles and Alameda. (Presumably residents of other counties could sue to have the ruling apply in their cases as well; in the meantime a narrow ruling might be less vulnerable on further appeal.)

I’m tentatively optimistic; probably we’ll know more in a month or two.

December 7, 2010Permalink Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>