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Gay marriage in California on hold for reviewGay marriage in California on hold as those opposed ask for legal review
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ' Same-sex marriage in California is on hold as supporters of a ban on gay marriage said Tuesday they will ask a federal appeals court to review a recent decision that struck down the voter-approved law.
The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals issued a 2-1 ruling two weeks ago that overturned the ban on gay marriage, saying the ban known as Proposition 8 violates the civil rights of gays and lesbians. Supporters of the ban insist that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
A legal counsel for the Protect Marriage Coalition said supporters of the ban chose to appeal to a bigger appeals court panel instead of going directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, even though the 9th Circuit is considered to be liberal in its rulings.
"There is liberal and then there is insanity, and there is just no way the entire 9th Circuit would sign off on a decision like this," legal counsel Andy Pugno said.
Same-sex marriages will remain on hold at least until the 9th Circuit decides to accept or reject the rehearing petition.
Voters approved Proposition 8 in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote. The 9th Circuit panel ruled it was unconstitutional because it singled out a minority group for disparate treatment for no compelling reason.
The justices concluded that the law had no purpose other than to deny gay couples marriage, since California already grants them all the rights and benefits of marriage if they register as domestic partners.
The lone dissenting judge insisted that the ban could help ensure that children are raised by married, opposite-sex parents.
The appeals court focused its decision exclusively on California's ban, not the bigger national debate, even though the court has jurisdiction in nine western states.
Whether same-sex couples may ever be denied the right to marry "is an important and highly controversial question," the court ruling said. "We need not and do not answer the broader question in this case."
Six U.S. states allow gay couples to wed ' Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont ' as well as the District of Columbia. California, as the nation's most populous state and home to more than 98,000 same-sex couples, would represent the gay rights movement's biggest success so far.
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