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No Gay Marriages in California For Now, Federal Court Rules [Updated]

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A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel of judges ruled today that enforcement of Prop 8, which banned gay marriage in California, will continue until at least December. Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker set Prop 8 to expire on Wednesday, meaning same sex marriages could be performed beginning at 5 p.m. if the higher court did not block them. And indeed, they did step in, but agreeing to quickly push the case through the next step, which is a technical one.

In the week of December 6th, backers of Prop 8 will have to prove they have the legal authority to appeal Walker's ruling, according to the LA Times. The ruling found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional. Officially, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown are the defendants in the case, but both being supporters of gay marriage, declined defending the ban.

During the trail, the official Prop 8 backers were legally granted intervenor status to defend Prop 8.

[Update: “Today’s order from the Ninth Circuit for an expedited hearing schedule ensures that we will triumph over Prop. 8 as quickly as possible," said Chad Griffin, Board President, American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which sponsored the case against Prop 8. "This case is about fundamental constitutional rights and we at the American Foundation for Equal Rights, our Plaintiffs and our attorneys are ready to take this case all the way through the appeals court and to the United States Supreme Court."

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AFER attorney Ted Olson was pleased with the news. "We are very gratified that the Ninth Circuit has recognized the importance and pressing nature of this case and the need to resolve it as quickly as possible by issuing this extremely expedited briefing schedule," he said]

[Update #2: Council for backers of Prop 8 were thrilled. "If the Ninth Circuit had not granted our motion, then Judge Walker’s decision would have gone into effect on Wednesday, changing the definition of marriage in California despite the vote of the people less than two years ago," said attorney Andy Pugno. "As we pointed out in our motion, Judge Walker’s decision totally ignores virtually all legal precedents, the well-recognized public interest served by fostering traditional marriage, and even common sense itself."]