After Northern California’s chief district judge Vaughn Walker on August 4 ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, I contacted Robert R. DeKoven, law professor at San Diego's California Western School of Law, since he writes regularly on gay issues.
DeKoven said, "The decision was not unexpected, but the stay of Prop. 8 is a surprise. And regardless if Judge Walker agrees to 'stay' his 'stay,' I suspect the Ninth Circuit will stay the judge’s order requiring state officials to resume gay marriages. I believe the Ninth Circuit will affirm Judge Walker’s ruling when it hears the appeal in 2010 or 2011.”
DeKoven explained the appeals process: "I assume the court will hear the matter en banc, meaning it would go before 11 members of the Ninth Circuit. If it doesn’t, and a three-judge panel hears the case first, as is the custom, then the matter would certainly receive en-banc review. Then the matter goes to the Supreme Court, if it chooses to grant a review, which is quite possible.
“Judge Stephen Reinhardt [of the Ninth Circuit] has already opined that [the Defense of Marriage Act, which, in 1996, made it so states don’t have to honor marital unions in other states] is unconstitutional, and I suspect his views are shared by a majority of the court.”
Professor DeKoven also spoke of Mayor Sanders's testimony. It "was obviously emotional to the court and provided a perspective of what it’s like to be a parent of a lesbian daughter whose civil rights were vanquished with a simple vote of a majority of Californians...."