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Justice Kennedy denies emergency appeal from Prop 8 supporters

Gay marriage opponents argued that they had more than three weeks left to ask for reconsideration of the case

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Sunday rejected an emergency application from the backers of Proposition 8 asking the court to stop same-sex weddings in California.

Prop 8 halted gay marriages in the state when it passed back in 2008, but it has been in legal limbo since a district judge overturned it in 2010. The 9th Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision, but it issued a stay on same-sex marriages pending the conclusion of the appeal.

The Supreme Court finally dismissed a legal challenge to the ballot initiative last week, ruling that its private backers did not have standing to challenge an appeals court’s decision overturning the measure. Following that ruling, California Governor Jerry Brown announced that the state’s Department of Public Health would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as the 9th Circuit confirmed that the stay on gay marriage was lifted. Gay marriages resumed in the state on Friday, with dozens of couples marrying over the weekend.

Prop 8 supporters argued unsuccessfully that the 9th Circuit should not have allowed same-sex marriages to resume, because the Supreme Court, as a matter of formality, announced that it would not issue its final judgment in the case until 25 days after the ruling, giving gay marriage opponents time to ask for reconsideration.

Justice Kennedy, who has jurisdiction over the 9th Circuit, declined to refer the case to the full court. He did not provide any additional comments on his decision.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of gay marriage, see:

Supreme Court strikes down DOMA

Rhode Island becomes 10th state to legalize gay marriage

High court hears cases on gay marriage

2nd Circuit strikes down Defense of Marriage Act

Boy Scouts reaffirm policy against admitting gay leaders

1st Circuit strikes down DOMA, sets stage for SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage


Alanna Byrne

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