Prop. 8 Stay Granted -- No Gay Marriage Wednesday

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Calibree Photography
Maybe next year, lads
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals moments ago granted a stay of Judge Vaughn Walker's Aug. 4 ruling overturning Proposition 8 -- meaning there will be no same-sex marriages on Wednesday.

The appeal was granted "sua sponte" -- meaning it was not made in regard to the arguments of the plaintiffs or the defense. But while proponents of same-sex marriage will doubtlessly be crushed, the court of appeals has also moved to rule on the constitutionality of Prop. 8 on an expedited basis -- starting next month.

"The opening brief is now due September 17, 2010. The answering brief is due October 18, 2010. The reply brief is due November 1, 2010," reads the terse, page-and-a-half order from Justices Edward Leavy, Michael Hawkins, and Sidney Thomas. A hearing is set for the week of Dec. 6.

Read the order here: Appeals Court Stay.pdf

Professor Michael Zamperini of the Golden Gate School of Law sums up the appeals court's actions in one sentence: "The stay stays, and they'll substantively hear the case of Prop. 8's constitutionality on an expedited basis. ... It's more waiting for same-sex couples, but, theoretically, the bone they've been thrown is instead of taking the normal time, they've gotten on fast track to get a substantive decision as soon as possible."

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Joe Eskenazi
Luis Juarbe grows emotional as he embraces his partner, Mike Reardon -- but his euphoria over the lifting of the stay on Prop. 8 was premature
Speaking as a legal scholar, Zamperini feels today's terse order "is saying the court is aware of the real world and understands something big is going on here. So, on their own, they're saying 'Okay, hold everything in abeyance, and decide this as quickly as possible.'"

This case was all about the "ultimate relief" of same-sex couples being awarded the right to marry. And, Zamperini notes, it is unusual for "the ultimate relief" to be granted while the case is still being decided on appeal.

As an openly gay man, however, Zamperini was frustrated. "If you think it's unfair, then it continues to be unfair. Maybe the good thing is, no matter what you think of Vaughn Walker's decision, it's the opinion of just one judge. At least we're now going to get more judges involved, and get them involved as soon as possible."

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