Statement by NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter

(San Francisco, CA, March 23, 2011)—Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the plaintiffs’ motion to lift the stay in the case challenging Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the freedom to marry from same-sex couples in California. That ruling means that the district’s court decision striking down Prop 8 remains on hold, and same-sex couples in California will be denied the right to marry while the litigation continues.

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughan Walker issued a decision in August 2010 holding that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Before that ruling took effect, however, the Ninth Circuit put it on hold by issuing a “stay” while the decision is appealed. At the same time, the Ninth Circuit put the case on a fast track. The plaintiffs who are challenging Prop 8 filed a motion last month asking the Ninth Circuit to lift the stay because the Ninth Circuit has asked the California Supreme Court to rule on an issue related to the case, thereby causing significant additional delay, and because same-sex couples in California suffer harm every day they are denied the right to marry. The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Lambda Legal, and ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit in support of lifting the stay. The Ninth Circuit rejected that request in a very short opinion issued this morning.

Statement by NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter:

“We are deeply disappointed by the court’s failure to lift the stay. A federal court held that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and that its continued enforcement causes serious harm to same-sex couples and their children. Without explanation, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling today allows that harm to continue. Every day that Prop 8 remains in effect, the state of California is harming families, sending a devastating message to LGBTQ youth, and perpetuating violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people.”

Read more about Prop 8

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.