SACRAMENTO – A conservative legal group’s emergency order trying to force the State of California to defend Proposition 8 in court has been denied.
The Third Court of Appeals in Sacramento ruled today against the petition by the Pacific Justice Institute in Beckley v. Schwarzenegger et al.
On Monday, the institute filed for the emergency order on behalf of Joshua Beckley, pastor of Ecclesia Christian Fellowship church in San Bernardino. The motion included a declaration of support from former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, a Republican who served under President Ronald Reagan. Meese also was legal advisor to Reagan when he was California’s governor.
The institute wanted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, to defend California’s ban on gay marriage. Both politicians have declined to defend Prop. 8 after Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled Aug. 4 that the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Walker’s decision has been appealed to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has given the state until Sept. 11 to challenge the ruling.
Legal experts have raised doubts about whether the appeal by Prop. 8 supporters has merit, since the state is the only institution that has authority to enforce marriage laws. The move by the Pacific Justice Institute was an attempt to force the issue.