Supporters of California's overturned Prop. 8 banning gay marriage will have to get their case before the U.S. Supreme Court if they want to appeal it any further, now that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to re-hear a challenge to a judge's decision that the ban was unconstitutional. If the supreme court refuses to hear the case as well, then that will be the end of the legal maneuvering around Prop. 8, which passed in 2008, and Judge Vaughn Walker's August 2010 ruling that a state ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional will stand.
In practice, Tuesday's decision means that gay people who want to get married in California will have to wait at least until the Supreme Court decides whether or not to take the case, the San Jose Mercury News reports: "Same-sex couples will not be allowed to marry immediately while Proposition 8 supporters are given a chance to appeal to the Supreme Court." With the court's summer recess imminent, that means there probably won't be a decision until at least the fall. "If the justices take up the legal battle, they would be expected to hear arguments early next year and rule by June 2013."
Supporters of the ban had argued that because Walker was gay, he had a conflict of interests, but the Ninth Circuit rejected that argument in June 2011. Then they made a so-called en banc petition, asking for a special 11-justice panel of the Ninth Circuit hear their challenge. Tuesday's rejection of that request means their only remaining avenue is the Supreme Court, which they've promised to pursue.