The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) [advocacy website], a Christian legal advocacy group, filed an emergency petition [text, PDF] on Saturday, stating that the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's [official website] recent decision lifting California's ban on gay marriage was not legal and was decided prematurely. This petition comes one day after the Ninth Circuit announced [JURIST report] in a one-sentence order [opinion, PDF] that the ban on same-sex marriages "is dissolved effective immediately". After Friday's court order, California Governor Jerry Brown [official website] declared that same-sex marriage is now legal in California [text; JURIST report] and that marriage licenses must be issued immediately. However, attorneys for ADF call the Ninth Circuit's actions "the latest in a long line of judicial irregularities that have unfairly thwarted the defense of California's marriage amendment." ADF argued that Friday's actions are premature because under US Supreme Court rules, parties of a dispute must be given 25 days to request a rehearing.
This petition comes comes on the heels of the Supreme Court's ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report] invalidated Proposition 8 [text, PDF; JURIST news archive]. Proposition 8 was struck down [JURIST report] in 2010 by US District Judge Vaughn Walker. Then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former attorney general and current governor Brown were originally defendants in the lawsuit. The defendants, however, declined to continue defending the measure on appeal [JURIST report]. This left groups like Protect Marriage [advocacy website] and others to continue to defend the law and appeal the ruling. In 2012, opponents of Proposition 8 urged [JURIST report] the US Supreme Court not to grant the petition for a writ of certiorari submitted by Proposition 8 supporters. Also in 2012 the Ninth Circuit denied a petition filed by supporters of Proposition 8 to rehear their case before the entire court.