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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an effort to lift Prop 8 as the judicial battle over California’s ban on same-sex marriage drags on.

Plaintiffs, represented by Ted Olson and David Boies and supported by a group of political and entertainment activists, had sought to lift a temporary stay on U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision last summer that declared Prop 8 unconstitutional.

The stay was placed on the case as it was appealed, but that ruling has been delayed by the Ninth Circuit as it sorts out a procedural matter.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit issued its decision this morning without much comment, other than to say that it considered “all the facts and circumstances” surrounding the plaintiffs’ effort to lift the stay.

The decision likely means that Prop 8 will remain in force at least until this fall, when the California Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments on whether the groups that backed Prop 8 in 2008 have standing to appeal the decision. The Ninth Circuit has declined to rule on the constitutionality of Prop 8 until they can resolve that procedural question, and they asked the state court to step in and render and opinion.

Chad Griffin, president of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, said in a statement, “Several weeks ago, we filed a motion with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asking the Court to lift its stay and allow California’s gay and lesbian couples to marry. We felt then, as we do now, that it is decidedly unjust and unreasonable to expect California’s gay and lesbian couples to put their lives on hold and suffer daily discrimination as second-class citizens while their US District Court victory comes to its final conclusion.

“It is un-American to deprive gay and lesbian couples of their fundamental constitutional right to marry. These are adults in committed, loving relationships who just want to live their lives without government interference.”