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California Supreme Court Delays Prop. 8 Hearing Until Fall; 2011 Complete Wash for Gay Marriage

One small step toward repealing Prop. 8 was taken today -- but it's safe to say the California State Supreme Court announcement was no great step for mankind.

Basically, the court just set a date for hearing whether or not a website, Protectmarriage.com, can serve as the official Prop. 8 defendant in court. So 21st century, we know, but overall, the afternoon decision, which is being reported as some kind of victory, was a complete buzzkill (especially for all those couples who were hoping to get hitched anytime in the next year anywhere outside Massachusetts).

In short? Summer 2011 same-sex weddings now a no-go. And that, your honors, is lame.

OK, so the step forward might deserve a brief, polite golf clap, in that it didn't move backward, or something. But, as the Sacramento Bee reports, now we know the trial won't even begin until September:

The state Supreme Court will accept legal briefs from March 14 to May 9 and start oral arguments in September, at the earliest, said court spokeswoman Lynn Holton.

The legal ramifications of the court's decision on the issue, however, are unclear, Holton said.

This wrench in the overturning of Prop. 8 was planted in December by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who had first appeared to be on a speedy timeline, but quickly proved otherwise when it asked the State Supreme Court to weigh in.

And now, here we are, with today's slug. A hearing that happens in September won't get a ruling until at least the end of the year. Sigh. American Foundation for Equal Rights Board President Chad Griffin, who leads the repeal-Prop. 8 side, is noticeably annoyed:

"More than six months ago, the federal district court declared unequivocally that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional and that it causes grave harm to gay and lesbian couples and their families each day that it is in effect. We look forward to assisting the California Supreme Court reach an answer to the question before them as soon as possible so that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals can affirm the district court's ruling and end the state-sanctioned discrimination of Prop. 8. We are hopeful that the California Supreme Court will also consider further expediting this matter so that it could be argued before the summer."

Word.