Prop. 8 Hearing in Calif.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments on the constitutionality of Calif.’s ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples

SAN FRANCISCO— A federal appeals court on Monday will hear oral arguments on whether California’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, Proposition 8, violates the state’s constitution.

A three-judge panel will preside over the nationally televised hearing in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. San Francisco’s Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned Prop. 8 in an August ruling that found the ban violates the U.S. Constitution. Outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to challenge the ruling.

In the first hour of a scheduled two-hour session Monday, a three-judge panel will whether ProtectMarriage, the anti-gay group that put Prop. 8 on the ballot in 2008, can legally appeal the lower court’s decision since its members are not responsible for enforcing Calif.’s marriage laws.

In the second hour, the panel will hear arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

The Los Angeles Times reported that, “The randomly chosen judges on the panel are Judge Michael Hawkins, a moderate Democratic appointee, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a California liberal appointed by President Carter, and Judge N. Randy Smith, a conservative from Idaho appointed by President George W. Bush.”

Powerhouse attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson—who argued against each other in the Bush v. Gore 2000 election results challenge—both represent challengers to the anti-gay ban. Boies will argue that opponents of gay marriage lack authority to appeal, and Theodore Olson will handle the constitutional issues. Charles Cooper, a Washington-based lawyer, will represent, the sponsors of Prop. 8.


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