Saturday, May 6, 2006
Case Law Development: Ninth Circuit Says Gays Must Await Outcome of State Appeals before Asking Federal Court for Help
A three judge panel of the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a gay California couple must await the outcome of pending litigation that is already challenging California's 's state law banning gay marriage before asking federal courts for help. The couple had challenged the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed by in 1966. The Act limits federal marriage benefits to traditional married couples -- a man and a woman. The court observed that it is "difficult to imagine an area more fraught with sensitive social policy considerations in which federal courts should not involve themselves if there is an alternative." A copy of the Ninth Circuit slip opinion in Smelt v. County of Orange may be found by clicking here (last visited May 6, 2006, reo).