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Coalition for Protection of Marriage opposes motion for parallel schedules in Jackson and Sevcik

The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, the anti-gay group permitted to intervene in defense of Nevada’s marriage laws in the Sevcik marriage equality case, files a brief opposing a motion to place the case and another marriage equality challenge out of Hawaii on a parallel schedule at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In its brief, the Coalition argues that granting the motion would cause undue delay in the Sevcik case, since the parties to the Jackson challenge have asked the Ninth Circuit to stay the case pending the outcome of the Proposition 8 case before the Supreme Court, while the Sevcik parties have not asked for such a stay.

Furthermore, the Coalition writes, the Supreme Court’s decision in the Prop 8 case (or the Windsor DOMA case also before the high court) will not necessarily aid the Ninth Circuit in deciding the Sevcik case since “both Windsor and Perry can and very likely will be resolved without resolution of the fundamental marriage issue.”  “It is reasonable to predict,” the Coalition’s brief argues, “that the Supreme Court will not even reach the merits of either of those two cases.”

Even if the high court were to rule on the merits of the Prop 8 case, the Coalition argues that Prop 8 is different from Nevada’s Question 2, which amended the state constitution to ban marriage equality, since the latter “reinforced [Nevada’s] consistent legal treatment of marriage as a man-woman union” whereas Prop 8 took away same-sex couples’ already-existing marriage rights, as noted by the Ninth Circuit in their decision striking the California law down as unconstitutional.

If the Supreme Court were to rule narrowly in the Prop 8 case, the Coalition writes, the fundamental marriage question presented by the Sevcik case would still be open to judicial interpretation.  “There is no way to resolve this case,” the brief argues, “other than by a decision on the fundamental marriage issue.”

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