Wedding Bells in California, Not Yet, But Soon

Gov. Jerry Brown told California’s 58 counties they will be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples when the lower court’s stay is lifted in the Prop. 8 case.

“After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California,” Brown said in a prepared statement.

“In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted.”

This could still be a month away, given the time courts take to pass along final orders.

California already has more than 18,000 same-sex marriage licenses issued legally in he state in that window between the time the California Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to block same-sex marriages and the voter response with the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008, which banned same-sex marriage in California.

The case then went to the federal court and U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional in 2010.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling but issued a stay of marriages until the Supreme Court could decide.

The Supreme Court by 5-4 ruled the supporters of Prop. 8 lacked standing to defend the law, that was the province of the state of California.  So Walker’s original ruling stands.

The Supreme Court must formally transfer Wednesday’s final order on Proposition 8 to the 9th Circuit before the stay can be lifted.

Case:  Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144