Bay City News Service
The U.S. Supreme Court will not announce until at least Monday and possibly later whether it will review the case of Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage.
The Proposition 8 case and several related cases concerning the federal Defense of Marriage Act were not on a list released by the court Friday afternoon showing two other appeals for which the court granted review.
A representative of the court's press office said the court will not release any further orders indicating grants or denials of review until Monday at 6:30 a.m. PST. Monday's order list could show whether the court has decided to hear an appeal by sponsors of Proposition 8 of a lower court ruling that found the voter initiative unconstitutional. The court also has the option of delaying consideration of whether to take up the appeal until a later date.
If the panel agrees to review the case, it would hear arguments sometime this spring and issue a written ruling by the end of June.
Proposition 8 has been left in effect during the appeals process. If the high court denies review, the final ruling in the case will be a decision earlier this year by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturning the ban. Gay and lesbian marriages could then resume in California as soon as the circuit court issues its mandate in the case.
Lawyers for two couples who challenged Proposition 8 have estimated that the mandate could be issued within two or three days. In the event that the Supreme Court denies review, San Francisco and Los Angeles County have asked the 9th Circuit to provide 24 hours notice before issuing the mandate so county clerks can prepare for an expected influx of requests for marriage licenses.
If the 9th Circuit ruling becomes the final decision in the case, it would apply only to California. That court said by a 2-1 vote in February that because same-sex marriage was legal in California for several months in 2008, it would be unconstitutional to deprive gays and lesbians of an existing right.
The sponsors of Proposition 8 and their committee, Protect Marriage, have argued in their appeal that California voters were entitled to choose a traditional definition of marriage.
An announcement of the Supreme Court's plans was expected Friday or Monday because the justices had placed the marriage cases on the agenda of their private conference Friday, but the court has no deadline for acting on the case or for making an announcement of its action.