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Appeals court rejects one challenge to gay marriage ban, refers another to state Supreme Court

January 4, 2011 | 12:20 pm

A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected Imperial County's challenge to a judge's ruling that California voters' ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

DOCUMENTS: Read the court's opinion and other filings

However, the ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sought guidance from the California Supreme Court as to whether Proposition 8 supporters have the right to appeal the Aug. 4 ruling that the voter initiative illegally deprives gay couples of their constitutional right to equal protection.

Proposition 8 supporters have petitioned the court for the right to appeal in the place of state officials who declined to challenge U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker's landmark ruling five months ago.

Imperial County's Board of Supervisors and deputy clerk had filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Proposition 8 proponents as well, arguing that county officials had a vested interest in the issue of whether the law passed by a 52% majority of voters in 2008 should be enforced. The appeals court said marriage laws are a state, not a county, matter.

RELATED:

Gay marriage opponents' right to defend ban may be decided by California Supreme Court

-- Carol J. Williams

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