Monday, July 1, 2013
Same-Sex Marriage Resumes as Ninth Circuit Lifts Stay
From Staff and Wire Service Reports
Same-sex marriages resumed quickly in California Friday—four-and-a-half years after voters stopped them—after the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the stay in had granted while proponents of the state’s constitutional ban attempted to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.
Word came from the San Francisco-based appeals court at around 3 p.m., as the three-judge panel that issued the original ruling—Judges Stephen Reinhardt and N. Randy Smith and Senior Judge Michael Daly Hawkins—declared:
“The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately.”
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who had sought dissolution of the stay following Wednesday’ ruling that proponents of the ban—enacted in 2008 as Proposition 8—lacked standing to defend it on appeal, which Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown refused to do, promptly tweeted that she was on her way to San Francisco City Hall, where she performed the wedding of plaintiffs Sandra Stier and Kris Perry.
While there, she telephoned Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan to tell him to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples eligible to marry. “I had a little talk with the clerk in LA because there seemed to be some confusion,” was Harris’ explanation on Twitter.
Logan announced on his department’s website a little after 5 p.m. that same-sex couples were indeed able to obtain licenses, effective immediately, and the other plaintiffs in the case, Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, were set to marry Friday evening at a Los Angeles City Hall ceremony presided over by outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
At the San Francisco ceremony, Harris said of Stier and Perry:
“By joining the case against Proposition 8, they represented thousands of couples like themselves in their fight for marriage equality. Through the ups and downs, the struggles and the triumphs, they came out victorious.”
Harris declared Perry, 48, and Stier, 50, “spouses for life,” but during their vows, they took each other as “lawfully wedded wife.” One of their twin sons served as ring-bearer.
Sponsors of California’s same-sex marriage ban called the appeals court’s swift action “outrageous.”
“The resumption of same-sex marriage this day has been obtained by illegitimate means. If our opponents rejoice in achieving their goal in a dishonorable fashion, they should be ashamed,” said Andy Pugno, general counsel for a coalition of religious conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8.
“It remains to be seen whether the fight can go on, but either way, it is a disgraceful day for California,” Pugno said.
Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to ask the high court to rehear the case. The court said earlier this week that it would not finalize its ruling in the Proposition 8 case until after that time had elapsed.
It was not immediately clear whether the appeals court’s action would be halted by the high court, but Brown directed California counties to start performing same-sex marriages immediately in the wake of it.
A memo from Brown’s Department of Public Health said “same-sex marriage is again legal in California” and ordered county clerks to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
Given that word did not come down from the appeals court until mid-afternoon, most counties were not prepared to stay open late to accommodate potential crowds, although Sacramento County’s clerk said the office would stay open late, and a jubilant San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced that same-sex couples would be able to marry all weekend in his city, just as it was holding its annual gay pride celebration.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company