The battle over California’s Proposition 8 has been in a holding pattern as both sides await a ruling from the state Supreme Court on whether same-sex marriage opponents have “standing” to pursue the case.
The California Supreme Court said on Wednesday that it would issue a ruling in the case on Thursday morning, which is the first step to resolving a procedural question that has stalled the case for almost a year.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in August, 2010, that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. But supporters of the initiative immediately appealed. But before rendering a decision on same-sex marriage, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that they needed to get the input from the California Supreme Court on whether the initiative’s supporters actually can appeal, given that they are not the official defenders of the state law. The governor and the attorney general are, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Attorney General Jerry Grown have refused to defend it.
So whatever the state Supreme Court decides will have a big influence on the federal Court of Appeals decision. If the appellate court ultimately determines that the Prop 8 supporters have no standing, that could (emphasis on could) end the case, with same-sex marriage again legal in California. If not, the litigation proceeds, perhaps all the way to an ultimate showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court.