California News

Gay marriage opponents ask court to intervene as same-sex couples line up to be married

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lawyers for the sponsors of the state's gay marriage ban filed an emergency motion asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and intervene as dozens of same-sex couples lined up to tie the knot Saturday.

Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay on same-sex marriages in California, allowing gay marriages to resume immediately.

On Saturday, attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom filed an emergency motion. In the petition, gay marriage opponents claimed the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly Friday when it allowed gay marriage to resume.

"The Ninth Circuit's June 28, 2013 Order purporting to dissolve the stay...is the latest in a long line of judicial irregularities that have unfairly thwarted Petitioners' defense of California's marriage amendment," the paperwork states. "Failing to correct the appellate court's actions threatens to undermine the public's confidence in its legal system."

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin Nimocks says the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not have legal authority to move forward and order same-sex marriage licenses.

Nimocks says 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 decision. Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to request a rehearing.

"The 9th Circuit decided to reverse its own injunction which it had the power to do and to let same sex couples in California finally marry," said Moez Kaba of Equality California.

Andy Pugno, a spokesman for Protect Marriage released the followed statement: "This kind of lawlessness just further weakens the public's confidence in the legitimacy of our legal system. We hope the Supreme Court will step in and restore some order here."

The group's emergency motion has been submitted to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who decides motions pertaining to the 9th Circuit.

But LGBT Advocacy Group Equality California doesn't believe the challenge will stand.

"Equality California thinks that the request is without merit," said Kaba. "We think that's how the court will treat it, that's how Justice Kennedy will treat it and we're going to continue complying with the law in the state of California which finally allows same sex couples the freedom to marry."

Long lines stretched down the lobby as city officials decided to hold weekend hours and let couples get married as the city celebrates its annual Pride weekend.

San Francisco's City Hall, normally closed on weekends, opened its doors to accommodate long lines of couples eager to get their marriage licenses and say their vows.

The two lead plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case Sandy Stier and Kris Perry of Berkeley, became the couple first to marry in San Francisco Friday, about an hour after a federal appeals court freed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the wedding as hundreds of supporters looked on and cheered. The couple sued to overturn the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban.

The two other plantiffs, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo of Burbank, were married in Los Angeles. The union was officiated by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriages in California after ruling that Proposition 8 defenders did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings.

Prop. 8 was approved by California voters in 2008, defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Because California officials declined to defend the law, lawyers for the original sponsors of the initiative stepped in.

The Supreme Court also struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied benefits to legally married gay couples. The ruling means that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

Los Angeles County plans to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Tags:
prop 8, same-sex marriage, u.s. supreme court, washington d.c., legal, california news
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