By Michael Stephan
Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the weighty gay marriage case involving California’s Proposition 8, took a step toward completion last week when the Ninth Circuit ordered certification of a question about standing to the California Supreme Court. Proposition 8, which was deemed unconstitutional by a federal district court last August, provides that “[o]nly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”
The issue of standing pertains to whether the appellants have a sufficient interest or authority with which to defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The appellants are the official “proponents” of Proposition 8—i.e., the five Californians who originally placed the initiative on the statewide ballot in 2008. These proponents were not named defendants in the district court case, but they were nevertheless permitted to defend Proposition 8 as intervenors. Because the named defendants—all of whom were state officers—declined to appeal the district court decision, the question remains as to whether the defendants-intervenors-appellants have standing to appeal.