State Officials Step Aside for Prop. 8's Demise
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
It was a federal judge who gave the green light for same-sex marriages to proceed next week, barring an intervention from a higher court, but it may be the work of two of California's top elected officials that ensures that his ruling is carried out.
Both Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, announced that they would not appeal an earlier decision by U.S. District Vaughn Walker striking down Proposition 8, the amendment to the state constitution approved by voters in 2008 that outlaws same-sex unions.
The decision by the elected officials is significant, because they are the two named defendants in the underlying case. That means that if they don't decide to appeal, there may be nothing that supporters of Proposition 8 can do to stop the weddings from taking place.
"To have standing in federal court, a party must show that it has suffered an actual injury, and Walker said no evidence suggests that the campaign (supporting Proposition 8) would meet that test," writes the Los Angeles Times . The trial judge noted the same thing himself, writing: "Proponents may have little choice but to attempt to convince either the governor or the attorney general to file an appeal to ensure jurisdiction."
That seems unlikely, so proponents announced that Imperial County would join their efforts to block Walker's rulings. The county has a direct interest in the outcome, because it would have to issue marriage licenses under the judge's order, the proponents argued.
The Sacramento Bee quoted attorney Sara Tappen, of the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, a supporter of Proposition 8. Tappen told the paper the proposition's backers should have their appeal heard and "have a right to be defended," despite state officials who she said "refused to defend the laws of the people they represent."