The court battle over California's Proposition 8, the voter-approved law defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, has taken a detour in the legal system.
On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco asked the California Supreme Court to clarify whether the supporters of Prop 8 have the legal standing to file an appeal.
"We are now convinced that proponents' claim to standing depends on proponents' particularized interests created by state law or their authority under state law to defend the constitutionality of the initiative," the three-judge panel said. "We therefore request clarification in order to determine whether we have jurisdiction to decide this case."
In August, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
After then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and ex-Attorney General Jerry Brown declined to appeal that decision, a group of Prop 8 supporters filed their own appeal.
"Politicians should not be able to nullify a democratic act of the people by refusing their duty to defend it," Jim Campbell, a lawyer for the ban's backers, said in a statement.
"The people of California have the right to be defended, and thus the official proponents of Proposition 8 must have standing to defend that law," he concluded.