California appeals court refuses to order state appeal of same-sex marriage ruling

[JURIST] A judge for California's 3rd District Court of Appeal [official website] ruled [case summary; San Francisco Chronicle report] Wednesday that neither Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nor Attorney General Jerry Brown [official profiles] is required to appeal last month's federal district court decision [JURIST report] finding California's ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] unconstitutional. Supporters of Proposition 8 [text, JURIST news archive], which banned same-sex marriage in California, had hoped the state would appeal the decision since it is not clear that the supporters have standing [LAT op-ed] to the challenge the decision. Writing for the Pacific Justice Institute [advocacy website], which filed the suit attempting to force a state appeal, attorney Kevin Snider stated [blog post]:

The duty to defend peacefully enacted laws is at its zenith when the voters have amended their own constitution. Should these elected members of the executive branch refuse to defend a constitutional amendment enacted in this manner, the Governor and the Attorney General will have seized an extraconstitutional power by creating what is tantamount to a constructive veto.
Snider said the Pacific Justice Institute will appeal Wednesday's ruling. Schwarzenegger and Brown have both indicated that they will not cause the state to appeal the decision overturning Proposition 8 unless ordered to do so by a judge.

Last month, a three-judge panel for the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] issued a stay [JURIST report] of Judge Vaughn Walker's decision overturning Proposition 8 pending appeal. Earlier last month, Walker held that the same-sex marriage ban violated the guarantees of due process and equal protection under the US Constitution, but immediately stayed the ruling. Schwarzenegger, Brown and others filed motions [JURIST report] opposing the stay request, which led to Walker's refusal to issue a stay pending appeal. Schwarzenegger and Brown were originally defendants in the lawsuit against Proposition 8, and their refusal to oppose the stay request left defendant-intervenors Protect Marriage [advocacy website] and other groups to defend the law. The remaining defendant-intervenors have indicated they will, if necessary, appeal the case to the US Supreme Court.

 

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