Tuesday's unanimous federal Appeals Court order asking the State Supreme Court for clarification on the question of legal standing accomplishes several things. First, it delays by months, perhaps years, a final legal decision on the Prop. 8 question at the U.S. Supreme Court. Time is generally on the side of gay rights supporters, as public attitudes continue, as the Prez and VP say, "evolving."
It also keeps the three justices -- Reinhardt, Hawkins and Smith -- on the same page. In the end, a 3-0 ruling will have a bigger impact than a 2-1 decision where Judge Smith (the only one of the three appointed by a Republican President) is in dissent.
Of course, today's 3-0 decisions on standing don't consider the legal merits of the case. That won't come until the State Supreme Court gets back to the judges. In the meantime, they're all reading from the same page.