Thursday, August 12, 2010

BREAKING: Marriages to Resume in CA on August 18

From The Advocate:

Judge Vaughn R. Walker on Thursday put marriage for same-sex couples on hold for at least another six days, extending a temporary stay until August 18 at 5 p.m. and allowing Prop. 8 supporters time to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Marriages could resume at that point or be put off indefinitely, depending on how the court rules.

"Although we're disappointed that Judge Walker elected today to give the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals a chance to consider the issue of the stay, we are gratified that he has denied the request to put his historic ruling on hold during any appeals," Jennifer C. Pizer, National Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal, said in a statement. "He has applied the standard legal tests in the standard way and reached the only logical conclusions given the overwhelming evidence produced at trial: nobody is harmed - especially not the backers of Prop 8 - by restoring equality in marriage to California's same-sex couples. Nobody suffers when everyone is treated equally. There's enough equality to go around."

Though he put a temporary stay on his judgment last week, Walker wrote in his opinion in the case that "California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result[.]"

"Moreover," Walker wrote, "California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings."

Walker ruled last week that the 2008 ballot measure violated both equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license," Walker wrote in a decision deemed by many legal observers to be both straightforward and breathtaking in its scope.

Prop. 8 proponents have appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Some city clerks in California had already given notice they would be performing ceremonies if the stay was immediately lifted. In San Francisco and Los Angeles, couples were allowed to fill out paperwork while awaiting Judge Walker's decision.

Story developing...

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