7:45pm- AFER’s press release is below the fold, as will be others that come in.~Louise

Working fast; will be updated.

Confirmed via CNN.

From Politico:

The Ninth Circuit has stayed Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling in the high-profile Constitutional challenge to California’s same-sex marriage ban.

The case is scheduled to be heard in early December.

Here is the 9th court’s ruling.

Filed order (EDWARD LEAVY, MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS and SIDNEY R. THOMAS) Appellants’ motion for a stay of the district court’s order of August 4, 2010 pending appeal is GRANTED. The court sua sponte orders that this appeal be expedited pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 2. The provisions of Ninth Circuit Rule 31-2.2(a) (pertaining to grants of time extensions) shall not apply to this appeal. This appeal shall be calendared during the week of December 6, 2010, at The James R. Browning Courthouse in San Francisco, California. The previously established briefing schedule is vacated. The opening brief is now due September 17, 2010. The answering brief is due October 18, 2010. The reply brief is due November 1, 2010. In addition to any issues appellants wish to raise on appeal, appellants are directed to include in their opening brief a discussion of why this appeal should not be dismissed for lack of Article III standing. See Arizonans For Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 66 (1997). IT IS SO ORDERED. [7441574] (JS)

Some important points:

Three things:

First, and drastically most importantly, the Court granted the stay.  Consequently the thousands of couples who were waiting for the day of equality will have to wait at least a few more months until December.  It’s interesting that the panel does not at all discuss the reasons for their decision on the motion to stay.  That’s because if they went through the factors, there’s no way they could rationalize the stay. They themselves raise the issue of standing and express an inclination that the case should be dismissed on that basis.  How, then, could they possibly determine that the Appellants have a “high likelihood of success on the merits”?  And how can they show that the Appellants will suffer any harm if loving couples in California are allowed to marry each other?

Second, the Court wants this case to be resolved quickly.  Appellants’ opening brief is due in just a month and the hearing will happen on December 6th.  This is lightning quick for a Federal Court of Appeals, and it’s a very good sign.  The Court understands that this case is important, and it doesn’t want it to linger.

Third, the Court specifically orders the Prop 8 proponents to show why this case should not be dismissed for lack of standing.  Here’s a discussion of the standing issue.  This is very good news for us.  It shows that the Court has serious doubts about whether the Appellants have standing.  

Even better, the Court is expressing an opinion that its inclination is that the case should be dismissed. That being said, the panel that issued this Order (the motions panel) is not the same panel that will hear that case on the merits.  The merits panel will be selected shortly before December 6th and we don’t know the three judges who will be on the merits panel.  But this is a very good sign that the appeal could be dismissed on the ground of standing alone.  

From Yusef Robb and AFER:

Official Prop. 8 Plaintiffs Statement on Today’s Ninth Circuit Ruling

Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit set a highly expedited schedule for briefing and argument of proponents’ appeal from the district court’s August 4, 2010 decision striking down California’s Proposition 8 as an unconstitutional violation of the rights of gay and lesbian citizens to due process and equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment, and it granted proponents’ request to stay the judgment of the district court’s order while the appeal is decided.  This means that although Californians who were denied equality by Proposition 8 cannot marry immediately, the Ninth Circuit, like the district court, will move swiftly to address and decide the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims on their merits.  Today’s order can be found here.

“We are very gratified that the Ninth Circuit has recognized the importance and pressing nature of this case and the need to resolve it as quickly as possible by issuing this extremely expedited briefing schedule.  As Chief Judge Walker found, Proposition 8 harms gay and lesbian citizens each day it remains on the books.   We look forward to moving to the next stage of this case,” said Attorney Theodore B. Olson.

“Today’s order from the Ninth Circuit for an expedited hearing schedule ensures that we will triumph over Prop. 8 as quickly as possible.  This case is about fundamental constitutional rights and we at the American Foundation for Equal Rights, our Plaintiffs and our attorneys are ready to take this case all the way through the appeals court and to the United States Supreme Court,” said Chad Griffin, Board President, American Foundation for Equal Rights.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights and plaintiffs Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo challenged Proposition 8 in federal court for violating the U.S. Constitution. After a three-week trial (including the testimony of 17 plaintiffs’ witnesses, among them the foremost experts on the relevant issues, and thousands of pages of documents and a wealth of other evidence) the Court ruled last Wednesday, August 4, that Proposition 8 violated the rights to equal protection under the law and due process that the U.S. Constitution guarantees to every American.

Please see the comprehensive, 136-page decision here.

A summary of the trial is available here.

Video evidence and other court filings are available here.