Crime & Justice

Judge keeps gay marriages in California on hold [Updated]

Couple Jeff Tabaco and Thom Watson stand on the steps outside San Francisco County Clerk's Office for a marriage license, with their application already filled out
Couple Jeff Tabaco and Thom Watson stand on the steps outside San Francisco County Clerk's Office for a marriage license, with their application already filled out
Julie Small/KPCC

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A federal judge put gay marriages on hold for at least another six days in California, disappointing dozens of gay couples who lined up outside City Hall hoping to tie the knot Thursday. Judge Vaughn Walker gave opponents of same-sex weddings until Aug. 18 at 5 p.m. to get a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on whether gay marriage should resume.

Updated at 7:22 p.m. | Permalink
Appeals court asked to block start of gay weddings

The sponsors of California's gay marriage ban have asked an appeals court to stop a federal judge's order allowing same-sex weddings to begin next week.

The lawyers defending Proposition 8 asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Thursday to impose a stay that would halt gay marriages while the court considers the judge's ruling that struck down the ban.

Judge Vaughn Walker last week found that Prop. 8, passed by California voters in 2008, was unconstitutional.

Walker then said same-sex couples could begin marrying next Wednesday unless the appeals court steps in.

-The Associated Press.

Updated at 5:09 p.m. | Permalink

LA County to issue marriage licenses, perform marriages
The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's office announced it will comply with the court's order to cease to enforce Prop 8 after August 18 at 5:00 p.m.

Prior to the court's effective date, no marriage licenses will be issued or civil marriage ceremonies performed for same gender couples.

The RR/CC office announced it will extend regular office hours in order to begin issuing marriage licenses and perform civil marriage ceremonies at designated county facilities.

For more information check the RR/CC website by Friday, August 13 after 5:00 p.m.

- Julio Morales

Updated at 4:30 p.m. | Permalink

'Atmosphere filled with excitement and enthusiasm'
Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents the district near West Hollywood, applauded Judge Walker’s decision as “totally fair and unbiased,” and said he was anxious but optimistic.

“I’m holding my breath right now and I’ll hold it until Wednesday night at 5 p.m. to see what happens,” said Rosendahl, who is openly gay and described the issue as a matter of civil rights.

“The atmosphere, the air, is just filled with excitement and enthusiasm,” he said. “The judicial process is ongoing, but I’m thrilled. I’m going to get deputized again and look forward to performing more marriages.”

- Ariel Edwards-Levy/The Patt Morrison show

Updated at 1:30 p.m. | Permalink

Appeal planned

One of the attorneys supporting Proposition 8 said he planned to appeal the ruling.

“We’re obviously disappointed; however, this case has just begun,” said Jim Campbell of the Alliance Defense Fund. “We’re confident that the decision will be reversed on appeal.”

Campbell said he believed supporters of Proposition 8 would not have to prove that allowing the marriages would cause irreparable harm, but rather that it wouldn’t cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs if they had to wait.

He said he hoped the Ninth Circuit would agree.

“If they do not, we will seek a review of that decision as well. We’ll go up as high as we can in order to see if the court will oppose a stay here,” he said.

- Ariel Edwards-Levy/The Patt Morrison show

Updated at 1:30 p.m. | Permalink

Judge Walker's decision leaves Prop 8 stay's fate to 9th Circuit Appeals Court

Now that Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision has been made, the fate of the stay is up to three judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, says Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the UC Irvine School of Law.

The motions panel, which is not necessarily made up of the judges who would hear the case, don’t have to decide by Aug. 18, but are expected to do so.

If they also deny a stay, the issue would go to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is responsible for overseeing the Ninth Circuit.

The decision may be made not on the merits of the issue, but rather on legal matters – namely, whether supporters of Proposition 8 have the standing to appeal if the state’s governor or attorney general choose not to do so.

- Ariel Edwards-Levy/The Patt Morrison show

Updated at 1:18 p.m. | Permalink

Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to put gay marriages on hold until at least Aug. 18 was "gut-wrenching" for Prop 8 opponents gathered outside the San Francisco courthouse, KPCC reporter Julie Small said.

After initially hearing by Twitter that the stay was not granted, couples ran to the city clerk's office to get in line for marriage licenses. Then, word trickled through that the decision was delayed until Wednesday.

"There was a great sigh and a moan of disappointment. People felt deflated ... so it was very bittersweet," Small said of the mood.

City clerks' offices had been gearing up to offer the licenses, with workers in San Francisco planning to stay open late and possibly over the weekend. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said he will perform the first same-sex marriage in L.A. at City Hall.

- Ariel Edwards-Levy/Julie Small

Updated at 1:01 p.m. | Permalink

Gay marriages could happen at that point or be put off indefinitely depending on how the court rules.

Walker struck down the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban last week in a case many believe is destined for the Supreme Court.

But he moved to suspend gay weddings until he could consider arguments from both sides on whether the marriages should be allowed during an appeal of his ruling. He now says gay marriage should resume, but he gave conservatives the extra time to get the appeals court to weigh in.

California voters passed Proposition 8 as a constitutional amendment in November 2008, five months after the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions and an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples already had tied the knot.

Lawyers for gay couples, California Gov. Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown filed legal motions Friday asking that same-sex marriages be allowed to resume immediately.

- Associated Press

Updated at 12:57 p.m. | Permalink

Today's ruling (Click to view in full screen):

Open publication - Free publishing - More proposition 8

Updated at 12:43 p.m. | Permalink

Judge Vaughn Walker set the deadline to give gay marriage opponents time to appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If the appeals court fails to act by 5 p.m. local time on Aug. 18, then gay marriages can forward.

- Associated Press

Updated at 12:42 p.m. | Permalink

AP: Gay marriages on hold until August 18

Associated Press: Judge keeps gay marriages on hold in California until at least Aug. 18.

Updated at 12:38 p.m. | Permalink

According to Lambda Legal, the judge has denied the stay of the Proposition 8 ruling. Couples are lining up at the San Francisco County Clerk's Office to get married. [Update: The judge didn't rule to allow gay marriages immediately, and is allowing opponents more time to file an appeal before allowing gay marriages.]

- Julie Small

Updated at 7:28 a.m. | Permalink

The Associated Press reports that Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin, president of the California Association of Clerk and Elected Officials, said that county agencies that issue marriage licenses will be ready to serve same-sex couples whenever they get the green light.

Original story:

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional last week. Supporters of the measure immediately appealed that ruling. Prop 8 proponents also asked the judge to stay his ruling until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco decides the matter.

Walker granted a temporary stay to give both sides time to file arguments for and against a stay.

If Judge Walker denies the motion for a stay, same sex couples in California would be able to marry right away.

If Judge Walker grants the stay, gay couples will have to wait for the appeals court to rule. That could take at least another year.