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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Judge Allows, but Delays, Gay Marriage in California - NYTimes.com

Judge Allows, but Delays, Gay Marriage in California - NYTimes.com
SAN FRANCISCO – Same sex marriage is legal again in California. Sort of.
Just a week after ruling that Proposition 8 — a 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage — was unconstitutional, a federal district judge lifted a stay on his decision on Thursday, opening the door for untold numbers of gay couples to marry in the nation’s most populous state. But he delayed implementation of the order to lift his stay until Aug. 18.
Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, who invalidated Proposition 8 in last week’s decision after presiding over a trial earlier this year, had issued a temporary stay to allow for arguments whether same-sex ceremonies should be allowed to be performed pending an appeal by supporters of the ban.
On Thursday, however, Judge Walker declined to extend that stay, but said he would allow the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit – where the case has been appealed by proponents of Proposition 8 -- time to consider the matter.
His opinion of the ban, though, seems certain. “The evidence presented at trial and the position of representatives of the state of California show that an injunction against enforcement of Proposition 8 is in the public’s interest,” he wrote.
The news of decision initially set off a joyous scene at San Francisco City Hall, where several dozen gay couples had lined up outside the county clerk’s office in hopes of getting marriage licenses and where a large crowd of supporters had slowly built on the hall’s steps during the morning. Several ministers had arrived to perform ceremonies and rainbow flags – long a symbol of gay rights – were being waved. But that mood soon turned to disappointment as couples realized that same-sex ceremonies would still be on hold.

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