Attorney General Kamala Harris is asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay on Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision striking down Prop. 8 last year. In unusually emotional language for a state’s “top cop”, Harris’s court filing reads, in part: “For 846 days Proposition 8 has denied equality under law to gay and lesbian couples. Each and every one of those days, same-sex couples have been denied their right to convene loved ones and friends to celebrate marriages sanctioned and protected by California law. Each one of those days, loved ones have been lost, moments have been missed, and justice has been denied. The preconditions for a stay are lacking on this record. The stay should be vacated.”

Her request follows that of the legal team representing two same sex couples in the Prop. 8 case (Perry v. Schwarzenegger) and comes on the heals of President Obama’s Justice Department declaring the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. It’s also a personal issue for A.G. Harris: Her brother-in-law Tony West is married to her sister Maya and is Assistant A.G. for Civil Rights at the U.S. DOJ.

As for chances of success in dropping the stay? Don’t bet on it. The 9th Circuit is treading carefully on this one –as evidenced by asking the CA Supreme Court to weigh in on a central question of legal standing. Prop. 8 backers would appeal lifting of the stay to the U.S. Supreme Court in a New York minute. The Supremes practically make a hobby out of reversing the Ninth … so it’s unlikely they’ll test them on this. Besides — if the stay is lifted, more couples get married and Prop. 8 is ulimately upheld, those couples would then be “unmarried” again. Talk about emotional roller coasters!

Scott Shafer’s Analysis of Harris’ Prop 8 Request 2 March,2011Scott Shafer

  • Leslie

    36 years ago my husband and I married. The next year, 1976, the California legislature told us we could not be married and wrote into law a ban for two people, only of the same sex, barring us from marriage.

    We were “engaged” for the next 33 years and married, again, before a government official at San Francisco City Hall in 2008. That cannot be undone. We cannot be “unmarried” ever, by anyone. If it is anything in the world for us of honor and value, it is marriage.

    Tell us who was harmed and how they were harmed the past 36 years.

    • Ed

      Leslie…what I nice story….makes me wanna cry! I’m happy for you!


Scott Shafer

Scott Shafer migrated to KQED in 1998 after extended stints in politics and government to host The California¬† Report. Now he covers those things and more as senior editor for KQED’s Politics and Government Desk. When he’s not asking questions you’ll often find him in a pool playing water polo. Find him on Twitter @scottshafer

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