A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday left in place a ban on gay marriage in California, denying requests to allow same-sex couples to marry during a lengthy appeals process.
Federal Judge Vaughn Walker ruled last year that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional and ordered that same-sex weddings be allowed to resume, but his decision is on hold pending the appeal.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is waiting for California’s supreme court to issue guidance on whether Prop. 8 sponsors have legal standing to defend the law in court when the state will not.
California’s decision could add nine months to a year to the federal appeal process.
Unfortunately, that may be too late for some longtime gay or lesbian couples. As I wrote here recently, Ed and Derence of Palm Springs, a couple that has been together for 40 years, demonstrate that lives are in the balance. Ed suffers from advancing Alzheimer’s. The California Supreme Court and now the 9th Circuit have decided to make Ed and Derence wait at least 9 more months before they might enjoy the fundamental right to marry. By then, it might not matter anymore. By then, Ed fears he may not recognize the love of his life, his own home or anything else.
Sometimes you hear people say “what’s the rush?” or “we’ll get there, don’t worry.”
Ed and Derence worry.