9th Circuit Appeals Court Hears Calif. Same-Sex Marriage Case

BY Lauren Knapp  December 6, 2010 at 12:35 PM EDT

The 9th Circuit Appeals Court in San Francisco hears arguments Monday in a challenge to Proposition 8, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The case is being heard by a randomly selected panel of three judges: Judge Randy Smith, a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a liberal appointed by President Jimmy Carter, and Judge Michael Hawkins, a moderate appointed by President Bill Clinton.

They are hearing an appeal of a recent ruling that found the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The arguments will be in two parts: first to consider the legal eligibility of the group launching the appeal and second on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 itself.

Making the case against Prop 8 are David Boies and Theodore Olson who will be arguing that Prop 8 supporters do not have legal authority to appeal the August ruling and that the ballot measure was unconstitutional. Charles Cooper is representing the sponsors of Prop. 8, Protectmarriage.com.

The ruling, which is not expected for at least a month, could be appealed to a larger 9th Circuit panel, and then up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

For a comprehensive account of the legal battle, check out KQED’s in-depth reporting on Prop 8.

Key Moments in the Legal Battle Over Same-Sex Marriage in California:

2000 | California voters pass Proposition 22 by 61 percent, banning same-sex marriage.

2004 | San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announces the city will recognize and perform same-sex marriage.

May 15, 2008 | In a 4-3 vote, the California Supreme Court declares 2000 law banning same-sex marriage is discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional. Some 18,000 same-sex couples marry between May and November 2008.

November 4, 2008 | Proposition 8, the proposal to ban same-sex marriage, passes with 52 percent of the vote.

November 2008 to February 2009 | Same-sex marriage supporters continue to protest Prop 8.

March 5, 2009 | California Supreme Court hears case challenging constitutionality of Prop 8.

May 26, 2009 | California Supreme Court upholds state’s ban on gay marriage in a 6-1 decision.

May 27, 2009 | Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boise file lawsuit in San Francisco Federal Appeals Court challenging Prop 8′s constitutionality. It will be the first federal court to hear arguments concerning same-sex marriage.

January 11, 2010 | U.S. District Court takes up case challenging Prop 8. Spencer Michels spoke with a gay couple who married before the ban was passed.

August 4, 2010 | District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturns Prop 8, claiming that it is unconstitutional. The ruling clears a path for the case to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

August 5, 2010 | Prop 8 supporters file to appeal August 4 ruling. PBS NewsHour discusses what’s ahead legally for Prop 8.

August 16, 2010 | The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put same-sex weddings in California on hold.