Proposition 8 backers on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to jump into the gay marriage fray and restore California's voter-approved ban on same-sex nuptials.
In a widely expected legal move, ProtectMarriage.com urged the high court to review a federal appeals court's decision earlier this year invalidating Proposition 8. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional because it stripped away the previous right of same-sex couples to marry in California.
Gay rights advocates last month asked the Supreme Court to decline the case, saying the justices should leave the 9th Circuit's ruling intact. In that brief, lawyers for same-sex couples called the 9th Circuit's ruling "straightforward" and confined to California's unique circumstances, arguing there is no need for the Supreme Court to address the broader legal questions surrounding gay marriage.
But in Wednesday's reply to that argument, Proposition 8 lawyers say same-sex marriage supporters are backing away from previous vows to win gay marriage rights in the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Plaintiffs are now contradicting themselves by urging the Supreme Court to stay out of the case and deny us all a definitive answer to the question whether the U.S. Constitution requires the legalization of same-sex marriage in California," said Andrew Pugno, Proposition 8's general counsel.
The Supreme Court docket page for Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 case, has a new notice that the case has been "DISTRIBUTED for Conference of September 24, 2012." The September 24 conference is the first time this term that the Justices will meet privately and look at petitions for certiorari to decide which cases they will accept for review. Usually, the Court announces its orders from conferences on the Monday following the conferences, however if they do take up the Prop 8 case on September 24, they could announce as early as the next day whether the full Court will review the case. It takes four votes to grant review.
If the Court denies the petition, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision stands, and Proposition 8 will be invalidated, though the case won't set a nationwide precedent. If they decide to review the case, they'll reach a final decision on the merits at the end of June 2013.