The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issues a one sentence opinion, lifting its stay, enabling marriages between same sex couples to resume immediately
With brevity in mind, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a powerful one-sentence opinion late this afternoon, lifting it’s stay in Hollingsworth v. Perry:
The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately.
And in doing so, marriages can resume immediately between same-sex couples in the State of California. Moments later, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris tweeted out:
On my way to S.F. City Hall. Let the wedding bells ring! #Prop8
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2013
And not too much time passed before she tweeted again:
About to marry the #Prop8 plaintiffs Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier. Wedding bells are ringing!
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June
Most experts concluded that while the government of California wanted to move swifting to resume issuing marriage licenses, a delay of 20 to 3o days was more likely. But only two days were to elapse for marriages to resume in the State of California.
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA), has ordered the Department of Health (DPH) to advise county clerks and recorders in the State of California to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.
Here’s a statement issued by Governor Brown:
After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. 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.”
Brown had been advised by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris in a letter dated June 3, 2013 to be prepared to take this step if the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for lack of jurisdiction. The last paragraph articulates the essential consequence of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert’s opinion:
If the United States Supreme Court vacates the decision of the Ninth Circuit for lack of jurisdiction, the district court’s judgement and injunction will require all county clerks and recorders throughout the state to cease enforcing or applying Proposition 8. Although the injunction does not expressly require state officials to direct counties to issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples, providing such direction with DPH’s (Department of Public Health) authority, and will be necessary to avoid confusion and ensure uniform application of the state’s marriage laws.
In effect, Harris advised Brown to promptly notify the county clerks and recorders to issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples, in order to avoid confusion and facilitate a seamless process.
Again, the State of California responded swiftly to the Ninth Circuit’s lifting the stay, in a seamless effort, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris put an explanation point on the moment by marrying plaintiff Kris Perry to Sandy Stier, her apparent spouse, following a five-year battle for marriage equality. Congratulations to Kris and Sandy and to all Californians! Let freedom ring!
Proposition 8 rally image courtesy of Flickr!
Tanya L. Domi is the Deputy Editor of the New Civil Rights Movement. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights and gender issues. She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. Domi is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.