California judge: Gay marriages to go forward on Aug. 18
The California judge who struck down the state\’s same-sex marriage ban ruled on Thursday that gay and lesbian couples may begin marrying on Aug. 18 at 5 p.m., unless supporters of Proposition 8 can convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to issue a stay.
When Judge Vaughn Walker struck down Proposition 8 last week, calling it discriminatory and unconstitutional, he put a stay on the enforcement of his order. That stay was lifted today, but the judge gave Prop. 8 supporters an additional six days to appeal for a further stay.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lawyers for the two couples and a gay rights organization that challenged Prop. 8 have argued that maintaining the ban through a stay would further punish gay and lesbian couples, San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan wrote. \”They said that in order for the stay to remain in place, Prop. 8 opponents have to prove they are being harmed by gay and lesbian marriages, and they have to show they are likely to prevail on appeal.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“None of the factors the court weighs in considering a motion to stay favors granting a stay,Ã¢â‚¬Â the judge wrote.
In his earlier ruling striking down the gay marriage ban, Walker wrote that Prop. 8 supporters had failed to Ã¢â‚¬Å“advance any rational basisÃ¢â‚¬Â as to why gays and lesbians should be denied the right to marry.
He continued: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligations to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Both California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown filed motions last week demanding same-sex marriages be allowed to resume immediately.
By the vote of a 52 percent majority, California outlawed same-sex marriage in November 2008. The state\’s supreme court permitted same-sex couples to begin marrying five months earlier, striking down a prior ban. Over 18,000 couples were married during that time.
Most legal experts believe the case is destined to be decided by the Supreme Court a year or two from now, once the appeals process is complete.