Bid to overturn gay marriage ruling22/02/2012 - 07:19:16
The backers of California’s same-sex marriage ban petitioned a US federal appeals court to review a split decision by three of its judges that struck down the voter-approved law known as Proposition Eight.
Lawyers for the religious and legal groups that qualified the ban for the 2008 ballot had faced a deadline for asking the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the 2-1 decision made two weeks ago.
The ruling declared Proposition Eight to be a violation of the civil rights of gay and lesbian Californians.
Andy Pugno, legal counsel for the Protect Marriage Coalition, said the backers appealed to a bigger Ninth Circuit panel instead of going directly to the US Supreme Court.
The move means same-sex marriages will remain on hold at least until the Ninth Circuit decides to accept or reject the rehearing petition.
“Generally speaking, we think the Ninth Circuit as a whole deserves the chance to basically fix this because the decision is such an outlier, it’s really not representative of what the Ninth Circuit’s thinking on this issue has been,” Mr Pugno said.
He said backers of the ban made the decision even though the Ninth Circuit is considered to be liberal in its rulings.
“There is liberal and then there is insanity, and there is just no way the entire Ninth Circuit would sign off on a decision like this,” Mr Pugno said.
If a majority of its more than two dozen actively serving judges agrees to reconsider the case, it would be assigned to a panel of 11 randomly selected judges.
Proposition Eight amended the California Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriages five months after the state Supreme Court threw out a pair of statutes that limited marriage to a man and woman.
The proposition was approved by voters in November 2008 with 52% of the vote.
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