The court reaffirmed an order it issued last August, suspending Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris had joined same-sex marriage proponents in urging the appeals court to lift a stay and allow couples to wed while the appeals process takes place.
Lawyers for two same-sex couples asked the court to lift the stay, arguing that gays and lesbians were being hurt each day the ban remains in effect.
The California Supreme Court has tentatively scheduled arguments in the case for September and could take another three months to issue an opinion, before returning the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.