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Judge favors trial soon on Calif. gay marriage ban

Judge favors trial soon on Calif. gay marriage ban

A federal judge wants a trial on California's same-sex marriage ban to proceed quickly but says he likely won't suspend the voter-approved ban in the meantime.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker said holding a speedy trial on the merits of a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 banning gay marriage would avoid novel issues that might be raised if he issued a temporary injunction.
A hearing on the injunction had been scheduled for Thursday. But in his tentative order Tuesday, the judge proposed using the time instead for setting a trial schedule.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, defendants in the lawsuit, had argued against lifting the ban. They said allowing same-sex marriages to resume would create confusion for couples and for the state.
But both also urged the judge to hear the case quickly. Brown also has sided with the plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit _ two unmarried same-sex couples say the ban voters narrowly approved in November violates their civil rights.
Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, one of the lawyers representing the two couples, said Tuesday he was not disappointed by Walker's decision.
"We are very happy. What we have wanted all along is for this case to move expeditiously to a final judgment that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional," he said.
Ordinarily, a civil lawsuit could take a year or more to be heard in court. Given Walker's favoring a faster timeline, it would not be unreasonable to expect him to hear the Proposition 8 challenge by the end of the year, Olson said.
Walker on Tuesday also gave the ballot measure's sponsors permission to intervene as parties in the case, noting that with the attorney general poised to argue for the other side, their interests would otherwise not be represented in the proceedings.
A lawyer for the coalition of religious groups that sponsored Proposition 8 did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment on the judge's order.
Proposition 8 was placed on the November ballot to overturn a California Supreme Court decision earlier in the year that legalized gay marriage.


Updated : 2021-04-17 07:30 GMT+08:00