SACRAMENTO -- California’s first same-sex weddings in nearly five years began Friday as a federal appeals court formally lifted the state’s ban against the marriages.
After the court’s action, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration issued an order to county officials that same-sex couples should be granted marriage licenses.
“This means that same-sex marriage is again legal in California,” said a letter from the state registrar to all 58 county clerks. “Effective immediately, county clerks shall issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California.”
By 3:30 Friday afternoon, the weddings were underway. Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris performed the nuptials for Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, a Berkeley couple who were two of the four plaintiffs in a Supreme Court case decided this week. In Sacramento, county officials said they planned on staying open two hours later Friday to accommodate a potential wedding rush.
The 9th District Court of Appeals lifted the ban Friday afternoon, a day before San Francisco’s gay pride celebration, which promises to be bigger than normal this year.
“What extraordinary timing, right before pride weekend,” Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom said in an interview on Friday. “It was already going to be an extraordinary weekend. Now this just takes it to a whole other level.”
Newsom urged county officials to stay open through the weekend where possible to help meet the potential rush of marriage-license requests.
Cathy Darling Allen, the clerk in Shasta County and the head of a state association of county election officials, said she expects all 58 counties to comply with the new law.
“As far as issuing licenses …” she said. “I have no reason to believe that we’d have an issue with that.”