Official end to California’s Prop 8

I woke up this morning to this news from the New York Times

Gay Couples Who Sued in California Are Married

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who have been together for more than 15 years and have four sons, were married at San Francisco City Hall by Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who have been together for more than 15 years and have four sons, were married at San Francisco City Hall by Attorney General Kamala Harris on Friday.

The two couples who sued to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage were married late Friday afternoon, just hours after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, lifted the stay that had been in place.

The court had stopped same-sex marriages while the case wound its way through the Supreme Court, which issued its decision to clear the path for same-sex marriages in California on Wednesday.

Attorney General Kamala Harris rushed to San Francisco City Hall within minutes of the ruling to perform the wedding for Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, who have been together for more than 15 years and have four sons.

And in LA

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, on his last workday in office, officiated at the Friday evening wedding of Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, the two other plaintiffs in the case. Until Friday afternoon, they had no idea when their marriage could take place.

“Nobody really knew; that’s what our lawyers are there for. We don’t really care about any of that at this point, but we’re on our way to see the mayor,” Mr. Zarrillo told KCRW, a public radio station in Los Angeles.

The pair were stuck in traffic en route from their home to the county office to obtain their marriage license and then to City Hall downtown. But by 6:30 they walked in front of dozens of television cameras, kissed Mayor Villaraigosa and were pronounced married.

“Your relationship is an inspiration to us all,” Mr. Villaraigosa said. “Today, your wait is finally over.”

“Equal feels different,” Mr. Katami said. Mr. Zarrillo added, “Equal feels good.”

The Ninth Circuit acted with unusual speed.

Many legal experts and advocates had expected the court to wait for an official decision from the Supreme Court, as is the normal practice. But after the initial ruling was issued on Wednesday, Ms. Harris urged the Circuit Court to act immediately and said she would ensure that all counties in the state were prepared to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Just after 3 p.m. Friday, the three-judge panel issued a one-sentence ruling lifting the stay on a district judge’s injunction to not enforce the ban on same-sex marriages.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement late Friday afternoon saying that he had directed the state’s Department of Health to notify all 58 counties in the state that “same-sex marriage is now legal in California and that marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples immediately.”

I know there had been some confusion about the impact of the Supreme Court decision.  Some thought it would only apply to the plaintiff, but since the District and Appeals courts had already ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional it turns out that only the stay had to be lifted.

From Massachusetts:  Welcome to Marriage Equality, California!  And an aside to the opponents – don’t worry, the sky will not fall.  This is number 13.  Which state will be next?

Photograph:  Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Prop 8 is ruled illegal

In a ruling my husband said he could have made, Judge Vaughn Walker held this afternoon that the Califorina voter approved proposition is unconstitutional.  The Prop 8 Suporters are expected to appeal and to argue that Judge Walker is gay and therefore biased..  I call this grasping at straws.

The Washington Post quoted Governor Schwarzenegger who as Govenor was the noninal defendant.

In a statement, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said, “For the hundreds of thousands of Californians in gay and lesbian households who are managing their day-to-day lives, this decision affirms the full legal protections and safeguards I believe everyone deserves.”

You may recall that the case was aruged by what has been described as the legal “odd couple”.  The New York Times put it this way

…the plaintiffs’ case was argued by David Boies and Theodore Olson, ideological opposites who once famously sparred in the 2000 Supreme Court battle beween George W. Bush and Al Gore over the Florida recount and the presidency. The lawyers brought the case — Perry v. Schwarzenegger — in May 2009 on behalf of two gay couples who said that Proposition 8 impinged on their Constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.

The San Franciso Chronicle reported

Within minutes of the ruling, Maria Ydil, 31, and Vanessa Judicta, 32, headed to City Hall to apply for a marriage license. It was not immediately clear if they would get a license or be allowed immediately to marry.

A crowd trailed behind singing, “The Chapel of Love.”

While they were allowed to fill out paperwork, they were denied a license because the judge issued a stay on enforcement of the ruling pending further hearings on the issue, a city official said.

From the Times

“Being gay is about forming an adult family relationship with a person of a same sex, so denying us equality within the family system is to deny respect for the essence of who we are as gay people,” said Jennifer Pizer, the marriage project director for Lambda Legal in Los Angeles, who filed two briefs in favor of the plaintiffs. “And we believe that equality in marriage would help reduce discrimination in other settings because the government invites disrespect of us when it denies us equality.”

Between this decision making its way though the appeals process and the Massachusetts decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court is going to have a pivitol role in the next step toward equal rights.   I will be posting more on this in coming days, as I digest the ruling, but I think that the Loving v. Virginia decision is finally going to be extended to same sex marriage as well. 




Pot and Gay Marriage

If you look at the referenda that passed in the various states, I’ve heard it said that you can smoke weed, but you can’t get married to someone of the same sex.  Homophobia is alive and well.

Particularly disturbing is the passage of Proposition 8 in California.  I wondered if it were legal given the ruling of the California Supreme Court and it seems that others are asking the same question.  Several lawsuits have already been filed saying it is a violation of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.

Here in Massachusett same sex couples can both marry and smoke pot!