SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Lawyers for the sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule a federal appeals court that on Friday freed the state to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
Attorneys said they submitted the petition to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles motions dealing with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes California and eight other western states. The emergency petition asks Kennedy to reinstate a stay that would halt same-sex marriages in California.
RELATED CONTENT: Download The Emergency Court Filing (.pdf)
The motion contended the three-judge 9th Circuit panel in San Francisco acted prematurely and unfairly when it lifted the hold on same-sex marriages it had put in place while a challenge to the ban made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Failing to correct the appellate court’s actions threatens to undermine the public’s confidence in its legal system,” the court filing stated.
Andrew Pugno, an attorney and spokesman for the coalition known as Protect Marriage, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s consideration of the case is not done yet because his clients still have 22 days to ask the justices to reconsider their 5-4 decision Wednesday holding that Proposition 8’s backers did not have legal authority to defend the ban.
“We hope the Supreme Court will step in and restore some order here,” Pugno said.
Over 100 gay and lesbian weddings have taken already taken place, in San Francisco and elsewhere, since the appeals court lifted the stay late Friday afternoon. The weddings include the nuptials of two couples who filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco to challenge Proposition 8 four years ago.
The couples’ lawyers said they believe the federal appeals court acted legally and within its authority when it lifted the stay.
Many legal experts, including Julie Nice, a constitutional law professor at the University of San Francisco, agreed, saying the appeals court had the independent authority to dissolve the stay which it had put into place in 2010.
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