Circuit Closes the Lid on Proposition 8 Appeal

     (CN) – Backers of California’s former ban on same-sex marriage lack standing to defend it, the 9th Circuit ruled Tuesday, wrapping up one of the court’s most closely watched cases.
     The federal appeals court officially dismissed Perry v. Brown in a brief, unsigned order just over a month after same-sex marriage ceremonies resumed in California in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on June 26.
     California voters approved Proposition 8 in 2008. The initiative amended the state’s constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, reversing a previous ruling by the California Supreme Court that had allowed same-sex marriage in the state.
     Kristin Perry, Sandra Stier, Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarillo – gay couples affected by the new ban – filed a federal complaint and showed U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in 2010 that Prop. 8 violated their constitutional rights.
     Neither California nor the federal government would defend Prop. 8 before the 9th Circuit. The appeals court, heeding a ruling by the California Supreme Court, found that the Sacramento-based group ProtectMarriage.com had standing to defend the law. Then it handed the group a defeat by affirming Walker’s ruling in February 2012.
     The appeals court found that Prop. 8 “stripped same-sex couples of the ability they previously possessed to obtain from the state … the right to obtain and use the designation ‘marriage’ to describe their relationships. Nothing more, nothing less.”
     The case then moved on to the U.S. Supreme Court, which made short work of it and did not even consider the constitutional issue. The high court found that it lacked jurisdiction to rule on the case because ProtectMarriage.com did not have standing. This ruling left in place Walker’s original findings, and allowed same-sex marriages to resume.
     Following the justices’ directive Tuesday, the 9th Circuit changed its original tune and dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
     “In accordance with the Supreme Court’s opinion of June 26, 2013 as well as the resulting judgment, this appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” the order states. “The clerk is directed to issue the mandate forthwith.”

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