Thursday, August 12, 2010

What to Expect in Today's Prop 8 Ruling on a Stay and Appeal

Judge Vaughn Walker is expected to issue his response today to a request that he stay his ruling that California's anti-gay Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Supporters of that law want to ensure that no new same-sex marriages take place before the appeal is heard at the circuit court level. (And even then, of course, nothing's final; this is going to the U.S. Supreme Court no matter what.)

The decision is expected to be made public this morning, between 9 am and 12 noon, Pacific time. LGBT POV has some analysis of the likely effects of the decision, whichever way Judge Walker rules.

Personally, I was initially overly cautious about the survivability of Walker's decision, simply because I think the general mood across the country and especially in the U.S. Supreme Court is still in favor of discrimination. But I've heard from enough legal experts to learn that Walker's decision was apparently very strongly written, and that makes it harder to win an appeal against it. Furthermore, some are suggesting that there's actually a hope that this could survive the Supreme Court, which I'd written off as a bastion of the ultra-Right. These folks are saying that the swing vote on the court might actually go our way.

Here's to hoping they're correct.

And here's also a toast to California Attorney General (and former/future governor) Jerry Brown and to current Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who both filed requests that the judge not stay his ruling. Schwarzenegger has played Hamlet on the gay marriage issue, but he seems to have recovered his moderate Republican social principles lately, and he issued a warm welcome to Walker's original ruling. The warmest toast, of courst, has to go to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who took a lot of heat and derision for his decision to allow marriages in the city and county of San Francisco, and the municipality is one of the plaintiffs in this case.

One last treat: Below is a HD video of Prop 8 plaintiff attorney David Boies, one half of the David Boies-Ted Olson bipartisan team that put together the winning legal argument. It's a fantastic speech and audience Q&A. What you don't see, simply because videotaping starts with the official start of the program, is that when Boies entered the auditorium, the sold-out crowd gave him a loud standing ovation.

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