Ninth Circuit Lifts the Stay: Same-Sex Marriages Begin in California

After SCOTUS dismissed the Hollingsworth v. Perry Prop. 8 case on Wednesday, most legal experts concluded that it would take up to 30 days for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay of the U.S. District Court’s order striking down Prop. 8 – but they were wrong. Today, just two days after the Supreme Court’s decision, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay of the federal court order, immediately clearing the path for same-sex couples to marry in California.

Late this afternoon, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a one-sentence opinion that states: “The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately.”

Governor Jerry Brown then ordered that “marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples immediately.”  He also took to his Twitter account to declare, “Same-sex marriage is now the law in California.”

Both of the plaintiff couples in the Perry case were married in public ceremonies this evening. Around 5:00 p.m., California State Attorney General Kamala Harris officiated the wedding of plaintiffs Sandra Stier and Kris Perry at San Francisco City Hall. About an hour and a half later, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa married the other plaintiffs, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo.

San Francisco City Hall will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 29th and 30th to issue marriage licenses. The Los Angeles County registrar and the clerk’s office have promised to deputize additional marriage commissioners and extend days and locations to handle the expected rush of weddings. Same-sex marriages should resume across the rest of California beginning Monday, July 1, 2013.

For up-to-date information about same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships and civil unions, check out the LGBT Law center on Nolo.com.