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Same-Sex Marriages Resume In California


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish. In California, weddings for gay couples are back on. Late this afternoon, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its injunction on same-sex marriages. They've been on hold while challenges to California's Proposition 8 worked their way through the appeals process. Joining us now from San Francisco is NPR's Richard Gonzales. And, Richard, to start, remind us how we got to this point.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Well, this decision let stand a trail judge's declaration that Prop 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, violates the civil rights of gay Californians and can not be enforced. It's a very long and complicated legal story, but remember that back in 2010, some gay couples challenged the state's ban. There was a federal trial. And at the end of that trial, Judge Vaughn Walker found that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. The sponsors of Prop 8 took their case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

That panel agreed with Judge Walker, saying that it was unconstitutional. So the sponsors took their case to the Supreme Court. And earlier this week, they lost. The Supreme Court said that the sponsors of Prop 8 don't have legal standing. In other words, they don't have the legal authority to bring a case before the Supreme Court, and therefore, there were - the Supreme Court would send it back to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That panel, today, lifted its stay, which means that gay marriages can resume immediately.

CORNISH: And this is somewhat of a surprise, right? Some thought it could take three or four weeks before the marriages could resume.

GONZALES: That's right. California Attorney General Kamala Harris, earlier this week, asked the 9th Circuit to lift the stay as soon as possible, and she also instructed county clerks to resume issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as soon as the stay was lifted. That came this afternoon. So that basically removed the final legal hurdle. And now, we're getting word that two of the original plaintiffs in the case, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, of Burbank, California, have announced that they're getting married this evening.

CORNISH: Richard, these developments are coming so quickly. After all these years of legal wrangling, what's the mood there in San Francisco?

GONZALES: It's absolutely electric. This is a shock. People didn't expect it would happen so quickly. And so, the word on these marriages is just coming out, and it's creeping around the city and around the state. This weekend also happens to be San Francisco's Pride celebration. So the resumption of the marriages comes at the very moment when people were poised to celebrate this very big win this week in the Supreme Court. And now, they will have even more to celebrate at the Pride parade that will be happening here in San Francisco on Sunday.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Richard Gonzales in San Francisco. Richard, thank you.

GONZALES: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
Audie Cornish
Audie Cornish is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.
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