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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Legal doubts surface as court extends California gay marriage ban | Richard Adams | World news | guardian.co.uk

Legal doubts surface as court extends California gay marriage ban | Richard Adams | World news | guardian.co.uk
Federal appeals court extends the block on gay marriage in California but opens question of who can appeal Prop 8 ruling
Gay marriage in California is delayed further by 9th District Court of Appeals ruling. 
The saga of gay marriage in California took another twist last night when senior federal judges demanded that opponents of gay marriage must justify why they can set foot in a courtroom.
The 9th District Court of Appeals yesterday extended the temporary ban on gay marriages in California – which was to have run out this week – until the end of the year.
But the court also opened up the crucial question of who can legitimately appeal the overturning of California's Proposition 8 amendment – a legal issue that could derail the case before it reaches the Supreme Court.
In its ruling to extend the ban on gay marriage while legal action is underway, the three judges revealed that they wanted to explore the arguments that those bringing the appeal lack "standing" – legal status – to take the case to court.
In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing.
Normally, only those directly affected by a judge's order have standing to appeal. The unusual legal tangle has arisen because the original case – brought by two gay couples who wanted to marry – named California's governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and attorney general Jerry Brown as the defendants.
Neither Brown nor Schwarzenegger wants to appeal the decision two weeks ago to overturn the ban – and in fact both offered support for lifting it. Instead, the legal defence was offered by the backers of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment passed by California's voters in 2008.

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