SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday kept same-sex marriage on hold in California at least until early December.
The judges issued an order agreeing to an expedited review of the Aug. 4 ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturning Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The panel scheduled a hearing for the week of Dec.6, at which plaintiffs and defendants in the case are to present arguments on whether supporters of Proposition 8 have legal standing to appeal Walker's ruling, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.
Plaintiffs asked a federal appeals court last week to allow same-sex marriages to proceed in the state beginning Wednesday.
Walker last week announced a decision to lift a stay on his injunction blocking enforcement of Prop 8, but said the stay would remain in place until Wednesday. He warned the amendment's sponsors may not have standing, or status, to appeal his ruling because they were not affected by the stay.
If higher courts concur with Walker on the standing issue, they would not decide the issue on its merits, the newspaper said. However, the case could still get further hearings on procedural issues.
In issuing a preliminary injunction Aug. 4 against the ban Walker said it "both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation."
California voters approved the ban in November 2008 by a 52.3 percent majority six months after the California Supreme Court ruled laws against same-sex marriage violated the state Constitution. The state court later upheld Prop 8 as a valid amendment to the state Constitution.