February 16, 2011
By Adam Bink
Just now, the California Supreme Court granted a request from the 9th Circuit to answer the question of whether proponents have standing under California law. As expected, they only said they decided whether to decide at all- and they decided they’d answer the question. Text:
The request, pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 8.548, that this court decide a question of California law presented in a matter pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is granted. For the purposes of briefing and oral argument, defendant-intervenors Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J. Knight, Martin F. Gutierrez, Mark A. Jansson, and ProtectMarriage.com (collectively “Proponents”) are deemed the petitioners in this court. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.520(a)(6).) In order to facilitate expedited consideration and resolution of the issues presented, and to accommodate oral argument in this matter as early as September, 2011, the normal briefing schedule is shortened, pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 8.68, as follows: The opening brief on the merits is to be served and filed on or before Monday, March 14, 2011. The answer brief on the merits is to be served and filed on or before Monday, April 4. A reply brief may be served and filed on or before Monday, April 18. Any person or entity wishing to file an amicus curiae brief must file an application for permission to file such brief, accompanied by the proposed brief, on or before Monday, May 2, 2011. Any party may serve and file an omnibus reply to any or all amicus curiae briefs on or before Monday, May 9, 2011. The court does not contemplate any extension of the above deadlines. Votes: Cantil-Sakauye, C.J., Kennard, Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Moreno, and Corrigan, JJ.
A full copy of the ruling can be found here.
In response, Courage Campaign sent out the following e-mail from one of our members in San Francisco- Shane Mayer- who I think well expresses the frustration from lots of same-sex couples who want to get married in their home state from whom we’ve heard. Another day, another court decision (or lack thereof), and more waiting. It’s turned into, in essence, a waiting period to get married for same-sex couples across the state. In Shane’s case, his father was diagnosed with cancer last year. He’s okay, but what if he had to miss Shane and John’s wedding day while the courts dragged their feet?
If you’re part of a same-sex couple wanting to get married in California, or know someone who is, click here to tell your story. We at Courage Campaign are going to then work to get these stories out, so the public, and the courts, know who is waiting.
Update: A lot of folks have asked, will it really be until September or later until couples could marry? The answer is yes, according to Chris over at Metro Weekly. He points out if oral arguments are held “as early as” September, and then the 9th Circuit doesn’t get to rule on the case until October, that’s what we’re looking at. Which is why we’re collecting these stories of couples forced to wait.
Update 2: Over e-mail, I asked Shannon Minter of NCLR, whom many of you remember from the Q&A sessions (#1 and #2) he and his colleague Chris Stoll participated in here at P8TT, for his thoughts on today’s move. He replied:
For same-sex couples waiting to marry, and for all LGBT Californians waiting to be treated as equal citizens, the knowledge that they must endure further delay is incredibly painful and frustrating. Prop 8 should never have been permitted on the ballot. The rights of a minority should never be put to a popular vote. Prop 8 was a toxic, anti-democratic measure that continues to wreak havoc in the lives of real people and families. The court should move as quickly as possible to move this case forward so that justice in California can be restored.
Update 3: A press release we at Courage Campaign issued a few hours ago. Rick’s reaction is exactly what many couples and LGBT individuals are feeling today.
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT WILL RULE ON PROPONENTS STANDING TO APPEAL PROP. 8 RULING
As LGBT families wait in limbo, Courage Campaign Chairman calls for expedited court ruling
Los Angeles: Earlier today, the California Supreme Court ruled that it would consider whether the proponents of California’s Proposition 8—a ban on same-sex marriage declared unconstitutional US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker last summer—have standing to appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals.Back in January, the 9th Circuit ruled that the standing question had to be resolved before they would consider the proponents’ appeal of Judge Walker’s ruling.Experts note that if the California Supreme Court rules against the proponents, their appeal of the District Court decision will likely be dismissed, and same sex couples will once again have the freedom to wed under California law.In Response to Today’s Developments, Courage Campaign Chairman and Founder Rick Jacobs issued the following Statement:“Today’s California Supreme Court ruling does not change the fact that a federal court has ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional, but it does mean that thousands of loving LGBT families remain in legal limbo—unable to exercise their constitutional right to access the security and recognition that only comes with marriage.
It is unfortunate that while many California families are able to marry at a time and place of their choosing, equally loving LGBT families must endure months and years of legal uncertainty. They have waited long enough.
That is why we are asking the California Supreme Court to move expeditiously to resolve the standing question once and for all. And we are confident that no matter what their decision, Judge Walker’s ruling will ultimately be upheld and the days of second class citizenship for thousands of California families will be relegated to the dustbin of history.”
Shane is a Courage Campaign member living in San Francisco. He and his fiance were disappointed and frustrated by today’s news and wanted to share their message below with you.
Today, the California Supreme Court didn’t even render a decision on the issue of standing in the Prop 8 case. They decided whether they were going to decide or not. The real decision could take months.
Are you part of a couple like me, or do you know a same-sex couple waiting to marry? If so, click here to tell your story. Our friends at Courage Campaign will get them out to the California Supreme Court and the media.
I’ve been engaged to my fiance John for some time now, and we keep waiting for the courts to stop kicking us around. Every time we get our hopes up over another court decision, they get shot down.
Look, my father got cancer this past year. We dodged a bullet and he’s fine, but what if he couldn’t see my wedding day because the 9th Circuit and the California Supreme Court are playing hot potato? Not to mention the couples who are going to get married in another state because it’s not legal in California.
Remember when Judge Walker’s decision came down and couples lined up to wed, only to see him put a stay on the decision? Remember when the 9th Circuit announced they would rule, only to kick the ball to the CA Supreme Court?
They don’t see us out here. And I’m tired of waiting.
My mom and dad met, fell in love and got married on their schedule, not on a court’s. Share your story, so we can build a case for the California Supreme Court to step on it. We need California to see more weddings in the future, instead of more heartbreak.
Thanks for all you do,