Prop 8 Gets its Stay, Gays Won’t Get Married Wednesday, Hate Hate Go Away

Hey, remember when we told you that you (and here we refer to gay Californians) would be able to marry according to the dictate of your heart and soul starting Wednesday August 18th? Apparently that is a filthy and heartrending lie, because today the Ninth Circuit of Appeals decided to stay Judge Walker’s order regarding the requested stay of marriages, and in fact continue staying those marriages until at least December. (@dallasvoice)

I have zero understanding of why this decision was made or what convolution of the judicial system allowed for it to happen; I had been under the impression that Judge Walker’s decision on a potential stay was final, but clearly I was wrong about that. The light at the end of the dream-crushing tunnel here is at least the appeals court has also ordered that Yes on 8’s appeal of Walker’s decision be addressed on an expedited basis, which means that the next step in this process may come while you still have the mental faculty to understand what’s going on, at least as well as you do now. The court has said it will hear arguments regarding the appeal the week of December 6th, which apparently in court time is practically lightspeed. Unfortunately in real-world time that is PRACTICALLY THE OPPOSITE OF LIGHTSPEED, and devastating to anyone personally affected by this case and the issues involved.

There is at least an argument to be made for a bright side, though. Since all important legal decisions are like a chess game, where doing anything requires planning eighteen steps ahead of your opponent, every move anyone makes has a dozen complex ramifications, and this stay is no exception. According to some, it may end up benefiting us in the long run.

Loyola Law School professor Richard Hasen said Monday’s order was strategically advantageous for supporters of same-sex marriage, no matter how disappointed many couples may be. If the panel had refused to place a hold on Walker’s ruling, the supporters of Proposition 8 were prepared to seek a stay from the Supreme Court. The court is believed to be divided on the question of gay marriage, with Justice Anthony Kennedy considered a swing vote. A vote on a hold might have pushed the justices into taking an early position on the question.

“I think there are strategic reasons why even the most ardent supporter of gay marriage could opt for a stay,” said Hasen, an expert on federal court stays. “The concern is that rushing things to the Supreme Court could lead to an adverse result [for supporters of gay marriage.] If this case takes another year to get to the U.S. Supreme Court, there could be more states that adopt same-sex marriage and more judicial opinions that reach that conclusion.”


This is kind of related to the point Slate tried to make earlier this week – that while our instinct is to shut this ish down as soon as possible and close the debate before anyone can get a legal foothold that might take away the precious thing that we’ve fought for here, in the long run it might be best to let it run its course. The argument here is that if Prop 8 is appealed again and again, and the appeals hold all the way to the Supreme Court, and we win there, it will be virtually impossible to reverse that decision later. We’ll have won in a much bigger way. Of course, it’s crazy to think that you can honestly tell that to families who have been waiting for this moment with their hearts in their hands – “just wait this one out, it’ll be best for everyone in the long view and there’s definitely a chance you can get legally married by the time your kid graduates high school!” – but since we don’t really have a choice in the matter right now, it’s at least something to hold onto. (@slate)

So we’re back on the ride, it seems, and we won’t be able to stop and get off til it’s over. The best we can do is hold hands and be brave.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our A+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining A+ and supporting the people who make this indie queer media site possible?

Join A+!


Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. It’s okay. I expected the stay from the 9th Circuit.

    If Prop 8 isn’t overturned by 2012, it will be back on the ballot for the 2012 election. Count on it. I won’t be getting upset for not being able to marry before November 2012.

  2. I expected that there would’ve been a stay before the 18th. Wasn’t the point of Judge Walker’s decision to make it the 18th was for the opposition to have time to come up with the stay?
    It’s going to be a long while off before the fight for same-sex marriage to be won. It wouldn’t be worth the struggle if the fight was so swiftly won.

  3. Lets not forget that the campaign to make gay marriage legal has been going on in it’s present form since 1993. I had to debate this 17 years ago when I was in high school. We’re towards the end, not at the beginning.

    And I’d also add that even though I live in CA, I’d much rather see this go all the way to the Supreme Court and get all the state bans overturned then have to keep going to the polls.

  4. this isn’t that surprising. walker’s stay was purposefully structured to expire on aug 18th to allow for this exact scenario. that’s why walker pissed off a lot of same-sex marriage supporters when he issued the stay last week.

  5. Expected this but now I have a half-filled out marriage application that was handed to me last week by the SF county clerk. So depressing. Keeping it framed for good luck. Will be back to fill out the other bride’s name soon.

  6. hey, this is a good article, very informative and well-written, but i really wish it didn’t show up as “we-got-assraped-again”. being denied full equality, benefits, and recongition really sucks; but it’s NOT the same as being raped. it may seem like a nitpicky issue, but for some rape survivors, the word “rape” used casually can really be a big, upsetting deal. i consider autostraddle an excellent blog that is appealing to all types of women, and this misuse of the word “rape” makes me really disappointed and sad.

    • Jesus fuck. I just noticed that in the url and you are 100% correct. Guys, seriously, how could have anyone have thought that was ANY kind of appropriate url for this article? I’m really disappointed to see that here.

      • hi everyone! the url has been adjusted and obvs it was never our intention to offend anyone. now we get to explain things you probably don’t care about in an effort to help you understand what’s going on. ready? ok:

        1. wordpress autosaves the title — even the working / joke titles — as the urls for posts. we have to specifically edit the urls prior to publishing each post. sometimes this gets overlooked. maybe you’ve noticed that some titles / urls read [DONE] on the end? that’s an oversight.
        just yesterday, i published sab’s piece on Street Anatomy without editing the title or the url, which we had to go back and fix later. it happens. it’s a mistake. it’s embarrassing. but it happens. we’re sorry.

        2. having said that, everyone deals with things like rape and assault in their own way. there’s no right or wrong way to discuss rape (see: the latest discussion around the “rape meme“). please don’t assume that the women of autostraddle have not dealt with rape / assault in our own lives firsthand — we have — and we are free to deal with that in ways we find most liberating or empowering.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!