The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has put any pending same sex marriages on hold in California until it reaches a decision regarding Proposition 8. Prop 8, the law banning same sex marriage, was overturned by a Federal Court judge who declared it unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit will likely take a while to decide the fate of Prop 8.
Proposition 8 ruling bogged down in legal quagmire
The legal brouhaha over California’s Proposition 8, the controversial law banning same sex marriage, is still at a standstill in federal courts. The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is on the docket of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the Los Angeles Times. After Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional by federal judge Vaughn Walker, the ban on banning gay marriage was put on hold by the Ninth Circuit Court. Gay marriage advocates, backed by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, asked the court to lift the restriction until a decision was made, but the appeals court was not receptive to this request. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is currently waiting for the California Supreme Court to decide whether anti-gay marriage activists had the right to appeal in the first place, according to the San Francisco Gate.
Conservatives rage at the dying of DOMA defense
Social conservatives are furious with President Obama and the Justice Department, after Attorney General Eric Holder informed Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) that the Justice Department wouldn’t defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court any longer. The Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed in 1996, says that the government doesn’t have to legally recognize same sex marriages, whether they are legally entered into or not. Speaker Boehner, according to the Christian Science Monitor, said that he would direct attorneys employed by Congress to defend the law in federal court. However, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to the New York Times, wants to see an estimate on how much it costs to defend DOMA in court. DOMA is still in effect; the decision by Attorney General Holder and the White House, is to simply not defend it in court because they think it won’t survive a constitutional challenge.
Economic argument for gay marriage
The annual cost of all state and federal lawsuits involving same sex marriage has yet to be totaled up. However, given that the average wedding is assumed to cost more than $20,000, allowing gay marriage would be a boost to the wedding industry. More people would buy houses thanks to the financial security of legally combined incomes, and more people would pay extra premiums to add their spouse to an insurance plan. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2004 that allowing same sex marriage would yield more than $700 million in tax revenue per year.
Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/03/gay-marriage-proposition-8-ruling.html
San Francisco Gate: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/03/23/state/n124757D79.DTL
Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2011/0316/Defense-of-Marriage-Act-Will-it-go-the-way-of-don-t-ask-don-t-tell
New York Times: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/11/pelosi-questions-legal-cost-on-marriage-law/
Congressional Budget Office report (PDF – requires Adobe Reader): http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/PDF/SameSexMarriage.pdf
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