By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge’s decision to overrule some 7 million California voters and legalize same-sex “marriage” has been put on hold by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals until the case can be reviewed later this year.
The three-judge panel imposed a stay on Judge Vaughn Walker’s Aug. 4 decision to strike down Proposition 8, the people’s stand for traditional marriage. His ruling would have opened the door for same-sex couples to head down the aisle beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 18). Instead, Prop. 8, defending marriage as between one man and one woman, will remain in place pending appeals.
“This is the best news we’ve heard on this issue lately, though it won’t likely be settled until it goes all the way to the Supreme Court,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. “At least this stay prevents the legal chaos that would be created if they issued marriage licenses to homosexual couples and then had to try to undo them if the ruling is overturned, as we certainly pray it will be.”
The Ninth Circuit Court also fast-tracked the appeals process, setting the hearing date for the week of Dec. 6, when a separate, randomly chosen panel of judges will take up the appeal.
Proponents in the fight to defend traditional marriage will have to show that they have legal standing to wage the appeal, a legal point that Walker challenged in his wide-ranging and unprecedented ruling. Further, they have to have their opening brief done by Sept. 17 to meet the tightened deadline.
“California voters spoke clearly on Prop 8, and we’re glad to see their votes will remain valid while the legal challenges work their way up through the courts. Invalidating the people’s vote based on just one judge’s opinion would not have been appropriate, and would have shaken the people’s confidence in our elections and the right to vote itself,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com, the defendants in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case.
“This case has just begun,” said Alliance Defense Fund Litigation Staff Counsel Jim Campbell. “ADF and the rest of the legal team are confident that the right of Americans to protect marriage in their state constitutions will ultimately be upheld.”
Speaking at a marriage rally earlier this month, the Rev. Creech described what is at stake in the case.
“If same-sex relationships are put on equal status with heterosexual relationships within traditional marriage, it will precipitate other relationships — from polygamy to group marriages or whatever — requiring the same equal status, and over time inevitably making natural marriage — our strongest of societal protections — essentially meaningless,” he said.
North Carolina is the only state in the Southeast without a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. As they have for at least seven years, Creech and other family values leaders are calling on lawmakers to pass a bill to allow a Marriage Protection referendum. In light of the Walker ruling, they are also pushing for a federal Defense of Marriage Act that would allow the people to amend the U.S. Constitution to clarify that marriage is between one man and one woman.