A U.S. appeals court ruled Wednesday that Proposition 8 will remain in effect while the issue is under appeal in the legal system.
In a one-page order, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request by gay rights advocates to lift the hold on a lower court ruling that found Prop. 8 to be unconstitutional. If the Ninth Circuit had granted that motion, same-sex marriages would have resumed in California.
"It is a significant development in favor of marriage," Jordan Lorence, senior vice president and senior counsel of Alliance Defense Fund, said of the ruling.
Last January, the California Supreme Court agreed to take the case challenging Prop.8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger , from the Ninth Circuit. The state High Court will weigh in on whether proponents of Proposition 8 have legal standing to appeal the lower court order against the California marriage amendment when the governor and the attorney general refused to do so.
Proposition 8 is an amendment to California's Constitution which defines marriage as one man and one woman. It was approved by 52 percent of voters in 2008.
Andrew Pugno, an attorney for Prop. 8, said the stay should be kept until the case is finally resolved by the California Supreme Court.
"It's a victory for Proposition 8 supporters and the initiative process as a whole," said Pugno, according to The Los Angeles Times. "People need to have confidence that their vote will count, at least until the courts make a final decision."
The state Supreme Court will likely decide the issue of standing by the end of this year.