June 28, 2011
By Adam Bink
Over at KQED, Scott Shafer wonders what the effect of New York legalizing same-sex marriage will be on California. I noticed this excerpt on the California Supreme Court:
Here in California, Prop. 8 is mired in legal battle. While supporters of same sex marriage have won important legal victories, including the recent rejection of a motion to strike down Vaughn Walker’s Prop. 8 decision, the issue is in some ways on the slow track.
The appeal of Walker’s decision is stalled at the 9th Circuit, which awaits legal advice from the California Supreme Court on whether Prop. 8 backers have legal standing to appeal Judge Walker’s decision. A date for oral arguments has not been set. It was thought to happen in September, but until a 7th justice is appointed by Governor Brown to replace retired justice Carlos Moreno my guess is the court will be reluctant to schedule it. Otherwise there’s a risk that a random Appeals Court judge will sit in as the 7th justice and take part in the decision — not a good scenario for the new Chief Justice.
That said, at least two other states — Minnesota and N. Carolina — are said to be considering ballot measures banning gay marriage. So — this issue is far from done.
One clarification, which is that Minnesota has already put this issue to voters at the ballot. The second is that regarding the California Supreme Court, Chris Stoll and Shannon Minter over at NCLR commented to me over e-mail that the court, since Moreno retired, has been picking an appeals court justice alphabetically at random to fill the seat on different cases, and is expected to do so here as well. They also commented that they believe it is unlikely the court will delay the case until Gov. Brown fills the seat.
We’ll have to wait and see how the timeline plays out. Hardship has already come to couples who are forced to sit in limbo since the 9th Circuit certified the question to the California Supreme Court. Hopefully, a great deal more waiting does not come, as well.