9th Circuit Accused of Violating Its Own Rules to Speed Gay Marriage in California

June 30, 2013 - 7:24 AM

Supreme Court Gay Marriage

Kris Perry, left, and Sandy Stier wave after they were married at City Hall in San Francisco, Friday, June 28, 2013. Stier and Perry were married Friday, June 28, 2013, after a federal appeals court on Friday cleared the way for the state of California to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a 4 1/2-year freeze. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Update: Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, without comment on Sunday, refused a request to delay same-sex marriage in California until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a certified copy of its ruling in the case involving Proposition 8.

(CNSNews.com) – The rush to same-sex marriage resumes in California, apparently without regard to legal technicalities.

The legal team defending California’s marriage amendment filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court Saturday, asking Justice Anthony Kennedy to vacate a premature order issued Friday by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the Proposition 8 case, also known as Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom say the 9th Circuit’s own rules require the court to wait for a certified copy of Supreme Court ruling in the Prop 8 case before lifting its stay on a lower-court ruling that had declare Prop 8 unconstitutional.

“Everyone on all sides of the marriage debate should agree that the legal process must be followed,” said Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks in a news release issued over the weekend.

“The 9th Circuit made a clear representation upon which all parties should be able to rely--that the stay would remain in place until final disposition by the Supreme Court. On Friday, the 9th Circuit acted contrary to its own order without explanation.

“Last year, the 9th Circuit itself reminded all parties to the Proposition 8 case that the ‘integrity of our judicial system depends in no small part on the ability of litigants and members of the public to rely on a judge’s word.’ We agree,” Nimocks said.

Alliance Defending Freedom says that when the 9th Circuit issued the stay, it said that the stay “shall continue until final disposition by the Supreme Court.” That final disposition will not happen until at least 25 days from June 26, the date the Supreme Court announced its ruling, under Rule 45 of the Supreme Court’s rules.

The emergency application argues that the Supreme Court must issue its mandate before the 9th Circuit can lift its stay.

“The Ninth Circuit’s June 28, 2013 Order purporting to dissolve the stay of the district court’s injunction is the latest in a long line of judicial irregularities that have unfairly thwarted Petitioners’ defense of California’s marriage amendment…,” the application states. “Failing to correct the appellate court’s actions threatens to undermine the public’s confidence in its legal system.”

The emergency application mentions news reports saying that some California officials began solemnizing the relationships of same-sex couples, including both of the couples that filed suit against Proposition 8, within minutes of the 9th Circuit’s lifting of the stay.

“Our clients have not been given the time they are due and were promised so that they can make their next decision in the legal process,” said Nimocks. “The more than 7 million Californians that voted to enact Proposition 8 deserve nothing short of the full respect and due process our judicial system provides.”

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed the emergency application together with Andrew P. Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com, the banner organization for the official proponents and campaign committee of Proposition 8. The U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case concerning Proposition 8, on Wednesday.

The voter-approved amendment defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Supreme Court ruled that the citizens who defended Prop 8 had no legal standing to do so, even though the California's elected officials refused to defend the law.