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Backers of Gay Marriage Ban Urge Court to Overturn Prop 8 Decision

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At the rally following the district court's ruling striking down Prop 8 (more photos and story here) | Photo by Tom Andrews/LAist

Just hours before the deadline on Friday, proponents of California's gay marriage ban filed written arguments detailing why a federal appeals court should overturn a lower court's decision that found the law unconstitutional.

The 134-page brief from the backers of Prop 8, the voter-approved measure that banned same-sex marriage in 2008, "alleged that Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker 'quite willfully' disregarded a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court precedent and other relevant information" in his decision against the ban, according to the Associated Press.

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The brief also, as the LA Times noted, concluded that if Walker's ruling stay law, it should only apply to the two couples name in the lawsuit because it was not a class action lawsuit representing all gays and lesbians.

Not so, said Brian Devine at the Courage Campaign's Prop 8 Trial Tracker in a legal analysis of the filing. "In other words, they argue that in deciding Brown v. Education (in which a class was never certified), the Court did not have the authority to broadly strike down all laws that segregated schools based on race; instead, it only had the jurisdiction to narrowly order that the 20 children who brought that case be admitted to the Topeka school," he noted.

Proponents also have to prove they have legal standing -- that's to say, did they suffer injury? -- to pursue the appeal.

Just in case they don't, the Democrat-leaning Imperial County in Southern California filed a brief to prove they have standing in the case.

Although Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown were named in the suit, who support gay marriage, declined to defend Prop 8. Instead, the sponsors of the measure were allowed to intervene for the first federal trial.

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Lawyers representing the two gay couples have until next month to file a response to the briefs. A panel of appeals court judges will then hear oral arguments during the first week of December.