Second federal court acting on challenge to same-sex law
Published: June 5, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO (CNS) -- Laws permitting same-sex marriage are destined for the Supreme Court after the second federal court in a week acted on challenges to such laws. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals June 5 said it would not revisit a ruling by a three-member panel of the court that said a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The brief order explained that one 9th Circuit judge had requested an "en banc" rehearing, meaning it would be reconsidered by the full 9th Circuit. The request "failed to receive a majority of the votes" of the 26 eligible judges of the circuit, the order said. In a 2-1 ruling in February, the panel found California's voter-approved Proposition 8, barring same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional. The November 2008 initiative reversed the May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that said the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. A month after that ruling, the state began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, a practice that continued until the day after the Proposition 8 vote occurred. The latest 9th Circuit order specified that its mandate -- which would allow same-sex marriages to resume in California -- would be stayed for 90 days to give the supporters of Proposition 8 a chance to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Associated Press reported June 5 that the attorneys for the backers of Proposition 8 said they would appeal to the Supreme Court. The 9th Circuit action followed a ruling by the Boston-based 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals May 31 saying a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and acknowledging that the final decision would be up to the Supreme Court. The 1st U.S. Circuit overturned the provision of the 1996 federal law, known as DOMA, that defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."
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