Prop 8 Backers Challenge Appeals Court Ruling

Just as same-sex marriages were getting underway in San Francisco, a new legal twist in the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage

The Proposition 8 legal team has filed an emergency petition to U.S. Supreme Court to stop the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's ruling that lifted the stay on same-sex marriages.

The petition, prepared overnight, was submitted Saturday to Justice Anthony Kennedy, according to a press release by ProtectMarriage issued Saturday. It's asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule the federal appeals court that on Friday freed the state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Dozens of gay and lesbian weddings have taken already taken place since the appeals court lifted the stay Friday afternoon. The weddings include the nuptials of two couples who filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco to challenge Proposition 8 four years ago.

Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks says a three-judge 9th Circuit panel acted prematurely and unfairly when it lifted the hold on same-sex marriages it had put in place while a challenge to the ban made its way through the courts.

Nimocks says the Supreme Court's consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider their decision holding that Proposition 8's backers did not have legal authority to defend the ban.

"When the Ninth Circuit originally put in place its stay to prevent same-sex marriage pending Supreme Court action, it stated clearly that 'the stay shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court,'” the release read.

The ProtectMarriage Coalition said its petition asks the Supreme Court to find that the Ninth Circuit had no jurisdiction to order same-sex marriages, since the case had not yet come back down from the nation's highest court.

 "People on both sides of this debate should at least agree that the courts must follow their own rules. This kind of lawlessness just further weakens the public's confidence in the legitimacy of our legal system. We hope the Supreme Court will step in and restore some order here," said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Coalition.

 The lawyers representing the same-sex couple who filed the lawsuit said Friday that they believe the federal appeals court acted legally and within its authority when it lifted the stay.

Kennedy is the one who handles motions dealing with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ProtectMarriage coalition is the official proponent of Proposition 8.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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