Developments in the California gay marriage case
(AP) – A look at this week’s developments in the California gay marriage case:
In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California following a bitter, five-year legal battle sparked by voters’ approval of Proposition 8, which added a ban on gay marriage to the state Constitution. The court didn’t rule on the merits of that ballot measure, but it left in place a trial court’s declaration that the proposition violates the civil rights of gay Californians and cannot be enforced.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dissolved a stay that it had imposed on gay marriages while the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 worked its way through the courts. Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has 25 days to ask for a rehearing, but the appeals court didn’t wait. Gov. Jerry Brown directed California counties to start performing same-sex marriages immediately, and the lead plaintiffs, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, were the first to be married at San Francisco City Hall.
Clerks in a few counties said they will stay open a few hours later Friday to issue marriage licenses. A jubilant San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced same-sex couples will be able to marry all weekend in his city, which is hosting its annual gay pride celebration.
Andy Pugno, general counsel for a coalition of religious conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, said the appeals court’s swift action is “outrageous” but “it remains to be seen whether the fight can go on.” Most California counties plan to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Monday.
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