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Gay marriage supporters urge court to reject latest Proposition 8 appeal

SHARE Gay marriage supporters urge court to reject latest Proposition 8 appeal

SAN FRANCISCO _ Gay marriage advocates on Thursday urged a federal appeals court to reject a bid to reconsider last month's ruling striking down California's voter-approved ban on same-sex nuptials.

In court papers filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for same-sex couples argued that another review of the legal challenge to Proposition 8 is "an unnecessary step" that will delay the outcome. San Francisco city officials also filed documents asking the court to reject the latest legal volley by Proposition 8 backers.

"Two federal courts have already found Proposition 8 unconstitutional," gay marriage supporters wrote. "Yet plaintiffs _ along with thousands of other gay and lesbian Californians _ still suffer the daily indignity and humiliation of having the state designate their relationships as second-class pairings unworthy of the name 'marriage.'"

A three-judge 9th Circuit panel in February ruled 2-1 that Proposition 8 violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples because without legal or social justification it stripped them of an established right to marry in California.

But Proposition 8 backers last week asked the 9th Circuit to rehear the case with an 11-judge panel, an "en banc" review. A majority of the court's 25 full-time judges must vote to rehear the case, a move most legal experts say is unlikely given the 9th Circuit's ideological makeup.

The legal maneuvering postpones the eventual likelihood of the U.S. Supreme Court being asked to address the Proposition 8 challenge.

Lawyers for the same-sex couples asked the 9th Circuit to put the case on the fast track if the judges vote in favor of rehearing the appeal.

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