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Media Focusing on Prop 8 'Standing' Question

When the American Foundation for Equal Rights legal team, led by Ted Olson and David Boies, filed their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, virtually all observers predicted the case would go on for years, and end up at the Supreme Court.

Two weeks ago, Judge Vaughn Walker delivered his first decision, ruling that Prop 8 violates the US Constitution. Last week, he put in place a temporary stay on his ruling, which would allow gay and lesbian couples to start marrying again in California this week. Now, many are saying that Wednesday's lifting of that stay could actually be the end of the line for this case.

The New York Times has an in-depth analysis of what the future could hold for the Perry case, noting that Judge Walker himself doubted that those who argued in favor of Proposition 8 in his courtroom have standing to appeal the ruling.

Respected constitutional scholar and Dean of UC Irvine School of Law Erwin Chemerinsky says Walker's ruling lifting the stay on Wednesday probably cannot be appealed. Chemerinsky writes that the 9th Circuit and Supreme Court will consider the case itself over the next few years, but "if those courts follow well-established law, they will need to dismiss the appeal on grounds that those who filed it have no standing."

Law Professor David B. Cruz from the Southern California Gould School of Law comes to the same conclusion, detailing several specific, precedent-setting cases.

Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post asks the same question, but says "When it comes to what the 9th Circuit will actually do, anything is possible."

Whether they do or do not have standing, the LA Times reports that the backers of Proposition 8 have filed an emergency appeal of what they called Walker's "egregiously selective and one-sided marriage ruling."

Meanwhile, many more media figures continue to weigh in on the case, and its implications. The NY Times editorial board again offered its support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, saying that those couples will "maybe sit on a park bench years from now and chuckle at the hysterical old claims that their lives together would destroy the institution of marriage."

Times columnist and author Frank Rich discusses the case in the context of the larger struggle for equal rights in America, including a heartfelt look at the life of Judith Peabody, who volunteered as a caregiver to AIDS patients and their loved ones at a time when gay men with AIDS were “treated not with compassion but as bearers of plague.”

Finally, legal scholar Michael Klarman wonders what effect public opinion will have on a potential Supreme Court decision in this case.

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