SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court put same-sex weddings in California on hold indefinitely Monday while it considers the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban.
The decision, issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, trumped a lower court judge’s order that would have allowed county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Wednesday.
Attorneys for sponsors of the voter-approved measure applauded the decision. In seeking the emergency stay, they had argued that allowing same-sex marriage while the case was on appeal would create legal chaos if the ban is eventually upheld.
“I think the basic notion that this case is not final until it’s gone through the complete appellate process really prevailed,” said Douglas Napier, a lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal firm.
“Rather than have this kind of ping-pong effect of having the decision overturned, appealed and then overturned again, it’s better to have this kind of decision,” he said.