Ninth Circuit judges ask California Supreme Court’s opinion on Prop. 8 standing

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The federal appeals court reviewing California’s ban on same-sex marriage asked the state Supreme Court today to answer a legal question that may determine the outcome of the case – whether a ballot measure’s sponsors can defend it in court when state officials refuse to do so.

However, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also made it clear how it believes the question should be answered – saying California would be “ill-served” if the sponsors of the 2008 initiative that banned same-sex marriage were barred from making their case.

The appeals court heard arguments Dec. 6 on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

But the court won’t be able to decide that issue unless it first concludes that Prop. 8’s sponsor, a conservative religious coalition called Protect Marriage, has standing – the right to represent the interests of the state and its voters.

Full story: Appeals court turns to state on key Prop. 8 issue