How 1997 Ruling Might Thwart Prop. 8 Appeal

Hardly anyone noticed when the U.S. Supreme Court said in 1997 that it had "grave doubts" that the sponsors of a ballot measure - in that case, an English-only initiative for government agencies in Arizona - had the right to defend the law in federal court. Now that case could determine the future of same-sex marriage in California. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, which will hear arguments in December on a federal judge's ruling that overturned Proposition 8, has asked both sides to address the question of whether the campaign committee for the November 2008 initiative has legal standing - the right to represent the state's interests in upholding one of its laws.