Nadia Sutton holds the US and gay pride flags during a same-sex marriage advocates demonstration against the stay barring gay marriages on August 19, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. On August 4, District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled against Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, and after his ruling the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted proponents of Proposition 8 a stay on August 16.
California's highest court is wading back into the legal morass surrounding the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban.
The three-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel said last month it needs to know if ballot proposition sponsors can step in when the attorney general and governor refuse to defend voter-approved initiatives in court.
The question is pivotal to the future of Proposition 8 because then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gov. Jerry Brown, then attorney general, both declined to appeal a federal trial judge's decision last summer overturning the measure.
Prop 8 sponsors, a coalition of religious and conservative groups, are trying to fill that void. But the 9th Circuit says it's unclear if they have authority to do so.