Prop 8 Hearing Complete; So Now What?

Monday hearing about legalities, not gay marriage itself

Lawyers went to battle Monday in the legal fight over same-sex marriage. California's voters banned gay weddings when they approved Proposition 8, but two gay couples sued claiming the ban violates their constitutional rights.

The initial judge who presided over the trial ruled in the couple's favor. Now that ruling is subject to legal appeals.

Monday's hearing was before a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. It lasted nearly three hours and was broadcast live on C-Span and countless websites, such as this one.

Legal experts say appeals can't be won during hearings like this one, but they can be lost. Early indications show that there were no blunders on either side that would unravel the case.

The Los Angeles Times summed up the morning by pointing fingers at both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown's for their refusal to defend the case. The paper pointed out that fact in a morning editorial and the judges Monday seemed to agree. Judge Stephen Reinhardt said Monday it was like "tossing in the towel." 

ABC News made note of that, plus the fact that the judges seemed to focus on whether Prop. 8 itself amounted to unconstitutional discrimination imposed by popular vote

"Should they reinstitute school segregation through a public vote?" Judge Hawkins asked Charles Cooper.

"That would be inconsistent with the constitution," Cooper replied.

Hawkins then asked how this case was different.

NPR looked ahead to what comes next. Most expect an appeal to the full 9th Circuit and ultimately a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. NPR also speculated about the "legal can of worms" the appeal process may open. 

We don't know when the three judges will rule. They will issue their decision in writing at an undetermined time. 

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