Appeals Court Extends Hold on Calif. Gay Marriages

A federal appeals court put an indefinite hold on California same-sex marriages Monday, overruling the order of a lower court judge who paved the way for such unions to commence starting Wednesday.

In its order, the three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the motion to stay the ruling of Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who last week ordered state officials to stop enforcing California's Proposition 8 beginning Aug. 18.

The week before, Walker had ruled that people of the same sex have the right to marry and that the decision of the majority to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman – as Prop. 8 had done – violates that right.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which has been defending Prop. 8, announced immediately after Walker's most recent ruling that it would appeal to the 9th Circuit to stay the trial court's decision until the case is concluded.

In granting the motion, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals trumped Walker's order but also agreed to expedite its consideration of the Prop. 8 case.

The 9th Circuit Court, the most notoriously liberal appeals court in the nation, has scheduled oral arguments for the week of Dec. 6 and changed the due dates of the opening brief to Sept. 17 and the answering brief to Oct. 18.

Lawyers for the two gay couples that challenged Prop. 8 said Monday they would not appeal the panel's decision on the stay to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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