SAN FRANCISCO — Whether the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will reach the merits in the Proposition 8 same-sex marriage case is now a question for the California Supreme Court.

The Ninth Circuit asked the state justices to say whether state law gives the official proponents of Prop 8 the right to stand in for the state’s constitutional officers, who have declined to defend the measure in court. At the same time, the panel rejected an attempt by conservative Imperial County to intervene in the case.