Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Prop 8 Update: Court Rules County Clerk Lacks Standing, Refers Pro-H8 Group to CA Supremes

A three judge appellate court panel ruled Tuesday that an Imperial County California clerk of the court lacks the legal standing to file an appeal in the case of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled last summer that the voter initiative banning same-sex marriage violated the 14th Amendment to U.S. Constitution. Former Governor Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Brown both chose not to appeal Walker's decision.

In a desperate attempt to find some way to fight the ruling, the bigots at scoured the roster of thousands of state employees, looking for a sympathetic "official" to jump on board their sinking ship. The best they could come up with was a deputy clerk from Imperial County. According to the L.A. Times, the court ruled that the regulation of marriages is the purview of the state, not individual counties.

As for the question of standing for Protect, the creators of Proposition 8, the panel decided the send the case to the California Supreme Court. The L.A. Times reports:
The state's highest court, which has considered the issue twice in the last three years, was drawn back into the fray by a panel of federal appeals court judges. The panel asked for guidance on the seemingly technical, but perhaps decisive, issue of who has the legal right to defend the ballot initiative on appeal, what is known in court as "standing."

The groups that originally placed Proposition 8 on the November 2008 ballot have asked the courts to allow them to pursue the appeal in place of the state officials. The initiative represents the will of the people, they argue, and should not be struck down with no one to defend it.

If those groups are found to lack standing to appeal, then Walker's decision, which is on hold, would take effect with no review by any appellate court. That would probably allow same-sex marriages to resume in California. By contrast, if the backers of the initiative do have standing, the appeals court panel would rule on the constitutional issues raised by Walker, and whichever side lost would probably seek further review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Equality California's Executive Director Geoff Kors told the Times, "We are optimistic that the case will be dismissed, marriage equality restored and that same-sex couples and their families will finally enjoy equality and dignity under the law."

Read the full story here.
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