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Appeals Panel Puts Same-Sex Marriage On Hold

Same-sex couples in San Diego and across California will have to wait until at least December before they can get married, a federal appeals court panel ruled today.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals announced that it would hold a hearing in early December on whether it would even hear an appeal of a judge's ruling striking down Proposition 8, the voter-approved measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco ruled Aug. 4 that Proposition 8, which was approved by California voters in 2008, violated the 14th Amendment that guarantees equal protection to all Americans.

Walker put a stay on the ruling, with opponents of same-sex marriage arguing that weddings shouldn't be permitted until the case is heard by appellate courts to avoid confusion. Walker ruled last week that the stay should be lifted at 5 p.m. Wednesday, pending any intervention by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Attorneys for ProtectMarriage.com appealed Walker's decision and asked that a stay remain in effect until the appeal is heard.

But the appellate panel indicated today it wants to hear arguments about whether ProtectMarriage.com has legal standing to pursue the appeal. The original defendants in the lawsuit were Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, and they have both declined to appeal the case.

The court stated that it would schedule a hearing during the week of Dec. 6 in San Francisco.

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