• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Gay marriages in Calif. may resume Aug. 18

August 12, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The California judge who decided that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional last week said Thursday that Prop. 8 will cease to be enforced as of 5 p.m. next Wednesday, and denied the motion for a stay. That means same-sex marriages can go forward if the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals fails to act by Aug. 18.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker gave parties until last Friday to turn in written arguments on whether same-sex marriages should resume.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown were among the first to urge that gay marriages resume immediately following Walker 's decision last week declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Opponents of same-sex marriage wanted the ban to remain in place until their appeal is decided by a higher court. Opponents argued that resuming gay marriage would only lead to legal chaos if a higher court reverses Walker's original decision.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say they're grateful for the extra time to submit their position to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"They will appeal the leave to the 9th Circuit District, and if they rule with Walker, then we will take this to the Supreme Court," said Netz Gomez of Protect Marriage.

A lot of Prop. 8 supporters outside of the courthouse in San Francisco were not confident about the decision because they said Walker, an openly gay Republican appointee, would not stop same-sex marriages from resuming.

"We certainly don't expect that from his past history and his personal history and his past history in ruling. The chances of that are 10 percent or less," said Don Gundmann of Yes on Prop. 8.

Supporters of same-sex marriage said that since the ban has been ruled unconstitutional, then gay marriages should be legally allowed.

"The judge has made it very, very clear that on due process and on the 14th Amendment of our constitution, Prop. 8 was unconstitutional. So, you know, the courts have decided that marriage equality is the thing that should be happening here in California," said Neil Thomas of the Metropolitan Community Church.

Dozens of same-sex couples waited for hours outside of the courthouse in San Francisco for the decision.

"It's just an endless road of delays," said gay-marriage supporter Bruce Mayhall. "It's just infuriating."

"We're really disappointed," said gay-marriage supporter Scott Hall. "We really though today we could become part of what the rest of Americans get. I mean, we're second-class citizens, basically."

"We believe, as 7 million California voters do, that the traditional marriage allows for every child to have the opportunity to have both a mom and a dad in the home," said Ron Prentice, Protect Marriage.

In West Hollywood, the mayor pro-tem was set to marry same-sex couples if Walker decided that the unions could resume immediately.

"The city staff has been on red alert. We've been getting hundreds of calls and e-mails in the last few days. Gay and lesbian couples, some who've been waiting a lifetime for this day, are eager to get married. We've kind of walked them through the process that if the stay is lifted, they need to run to the Beverly Hills courthouse to get a marriage license," said West Hollywood Mayor Pro-Tem John Duran.

Regardless of the decision, both sides said they are vowing to take the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

An estimated 18,000 California gay couples tied the knot after the California Supreme Court legalized same sex unions, but all of that ended when California voters passed Prop 8 in November 2008.


Load Comments