prop-8The California Supreme Court has issued a decision advising a federal appeals court that groups opposed to marriage rights for same-sex couples can defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which was struck down by a federal district court.

State officials declined to defend the voter-passed initiative that ended marriage equality in California, calling into question who has standing to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

If the Ninth Circuit accepts the state court’s clarification, it is expected to issue a ruling on the merits of the case and decide whether the lower court was correct in declaring Prop 8 unconstitutional.  Regardless of that decision, both sides are expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.