SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Three federal appeals court judges were hearing arguments in San Francisco Thursday afternoon on two issues related to last year’s trial on Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

On one issue, the judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether to unseal a video recording made of the trial on the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

On the second issue, the panel will review whether the trial judge in the case, now-retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, had a conflict of interest because he was in a long-term gay relationship.

But the court won’t be hearing any debate Thursday on the central issue of whether Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution.

The same panel previously heard arguments on that question a year ago—on Dec. 6, 2010 — and now has that part of the case under consideration.

The panel will hand down a written ruling or rulings on all three issues at a later date, perhaps not until early next year.

In the main part of the case, Walker ruled last year that the 2008 ballot initiative violated the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection.

But that decision has been put on hold while the appeal proceeds.

All three issues before the circuit court are being appealed by the sponsors of Proposition 8 and their committee, Protect Marriage.

The case may not be resolved for a year or more because the panel’s eventual ruling can be appealed to a larger 11-judge panel and then to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The three judges conducting Thursday’s hearing were Stephen Reinhardt of Los Angeles, Randy Smith of Pocatello, Idaho, and Michael Hawkins of Phoenix.

Supporters of same-sex marriage were planning a 1 p.m. rally titled “Free the Tapes and Motion for Marriage” outside the 9th Circuit courthouse at Seventh and Mission streets in San Francisco.


(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. Marty says:

    Just repeal Prop 8. The reason it’s in effect is trivial. Religion and politics do not mix.

    All marriages should be civil. When two people get married, they are married by the state, not the church. Whatever happened to “all men are created equal”?

  2. JWT says:

    The PEOPLE SPOKE on this issue when the voted IN FAVOR of Prop 8… If these activists don’t like the results, then let’s have another election.. Not try to get your way by judicial fiat…

    3 votes should not over-rule 7 million others….

    1. Sam says:

      Yes, 3 votes SHOULD over-rule your incorrect number of voting BIGOTS. It is unconstitutional to discriminate in our country. Pure and simple. Furthermore, JWT, if you are not favorable to gay marriage? Don’t have one. Duh. It doesn’t affect you, just as it doesn’t affect me, or anyone else other than the two people who would like to legally dedicate their lives to loving, honoring and protecting each other.

  3. SJE says:

    The “judicial fiat” exists to protect minorities in America. There’s a reason why Civil Rights was won in the courtroom: African Americans were/are a minority in the US. Their rights could not be won in a popular vote because most people at the time were unwittingly biased toward racism.

    The same is true here. The votes of the “7 million,” as you have so fallaciously stated, should not over-rule the basic civil liberties of an entire minority group which, by the way, also numbers in the millions.

    You should seriously consider getting yourself educated before arguing against civil rights.

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