Justice Kennedy Denies Bid To Stop California Gay Marriages

Supreme Court Building

Unsurprisingly, Justice Anthony Kennedy has denied an emergency bid to halt the same-sex marriages that had resumed in California on Friday after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had lifted its stay:

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy turned down at midday Sunday a request to stop same-sex marriages from occurring in California.  Without comment, and without seeking views from the other side, Kennedy rejected a challenge to action by the Ninth Circuit Court on Friday implementing a federal judge’s ruling allowing such marriages.  The plea had been made on Saturday by the sponsors of California’s “Proposition 8,” a voter-approved measure that permitted marriage only between a man and a woman.

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Since Justice Kennedy offered no explanation for denying an application claiming that the Ninth Circuit panel had no authority to lift its stay, there is no way to know what legal rationale he had used.  It could have been that the sponsors of the measure lacked a legal right to pursue their challenge further, that even if they had such a right it was without legal merit, that the lower court did have the authority to decide for itself when to life the stay, or perhaps that events had just moved too rapidly in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that it would be inappropriate to try to roll them back.

Although attorneys for the ballot measure’s sponsors have been creative in finding new ways to try to press the challenge, the brief action by Kennedy on Sunday may have removed the final barrier to the full achievement of marriage rights for gays and lesbians in the nation’s most populous state.   California is the thirteenth state where same-sex marriages can occur now, or soon, when new laws in a few of the states take effect this summer.  The District of Columbia also allows such marriages.

As I noted yesterday, there was virtually no chance that Kennedy would grant this request to begin with, so there’s no surprise here. Theoretically, the Prop. 8 proponents could file a Motion to Reconsider,  but there’s really no chance that such a motion would have been granted. This case is, effectively, over.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Latino__in_Boston says:

    And I, for one, I’m thrilled.

  2. Al says:

    I was feeling down but the comments over at Hot Air cheered me right up. When did social conservatives become such whiners anyway?

  3. Tyrell says:

    The governments – federal and state should stay out of marriage. Leave the entire thing up to the churches. “Civil unions, people relationships, committed couples, pairs who care” or whatever they prefer to call themselves could be legally recognized as common law, as they already are in many states, including ours. I give it 2-5 years before a polygamist group “comes out” and demands their “marriage” be legally recognized (it won’t be out of Utah though – that bunch out there is secretive and connected). What will Judge Kennedy say then? Will he say that laws prohibiting polygamy are hateful, spiteful, vindicative, prejudicial?

  4. Andre Kenji says:

    @Al:

    When did social conservatives become such whiners anyway?

    Since they began to identify as such.

  5. rudderpedals says:

    @Tyrell: Will he say that laws prohibiting polygamy are hateful, spiteful, vindicative, prejudicial?

    Aren’t they?

  6. murray says:

    @Tyrell: “The governments – federal and state should stay out of marriage”

    It’s the other way around. If you want government to stay out of your relationship, don’t get married. Go find a lawyer and have him write a contract for your couple that doesn’t involve any special benefits from gvt.

  7. Rafer Janders says:

    My brother’s boyfriend proposed to him in California! A great day for my family!

  8. anjin-san says:

    The governments – federal and state should stay out of marriage. Leave the entire thing up to the churches.

    I don’t belong to a church. In the universe you live in, does this mean that I:

    1. Can’t get married
    2. Have to appeal to an authority I don’t believe in to live my life as I see fit

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tyrell:

    The governments – federal and state should stay out of marriage. Leave the entire thing up to the churches.

    How exactly are the churches going to handle pre-nuptial agreements, divorce, division of property, child custody, inheritance, and all the other related complications of marriage?

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tyrell:

    The governments – federal and state should stay out of marriage. Leave the entire thing up to the churches.

    OK, say I’m Catholic and my girlfriend is Jewish. Neither one of our respective churches and synagogues will marry us. Do we have to both convert to Unitarianism, or is it just easier for me to ditch her and find another Catholic to marry?

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tyrell:

    The governments – federal and state should stay out of marriage. Leave the entire thing up to the churches.

    Ouch! It hurts! Make the stupid stop!