WASHINGTON -- Same-sex marriages will resume in California in a matter of weeks, lawyers who challenged the state’s Proposition 8 said.
“Let the marriages begin,” attorney Ted Boutros declared to a crowd of supporters gathered on the sidewalk outside the Supreme Court after the justices invalidated the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
Boutros said state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris will announce the details of the state’s plans later Wednesday.
The high court’s rulings typically take effect within 25 days. In this case, however, the state does not necessarily have to wait because lower courts already had ruled against Proposition 8.
[Updated, 11:56 a.m. June 26, 2013: Same-sex marriages in California have followed a complicated legal path. In 2004, San Francisco attempted to legalize such unions on its own, but after dozens of couples wed, the courts ended the effort, saying that the city could not set its own marriage rules.
Then, in 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry, striking down a voter-approved law that had limited marriages to heterosexual couples. Once again, same-sex couples headed to the altar. But in November of that year, voters passed Proposition 8, which reinstated the ban. The several thousand couples who married while same-sex marriages were legal remained validly wed, but new marriages were not allowed.
The saga then moved to federal court, where two same-sex couples challenged the constitutionality of Proposition 8. After a 12-day trial, they won a ruling from federal district judge Vaughn Walker in August 2010 which held that the ban violated the rights of same-sex couples. But Walker’s ruling was put on hold while supporters of the ban sought to appeal.
State officials declined to appeal Walker’s ruling, but the groups which put Proposition 8 on the ballot pursued the case in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which, upheld Walker. The case then moved to the Supreme Court, which on Wednesday, held that the 9th Circuit should not have considered the appeal because the backers of Proposition 8 did not have a legal right to proceed once state officials had bowed out of the case.]