On Wednesday a federal judge in San Francisco struck down Proposition 8 - California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage. KPCC's Julie Small attended a press conference in San Francisco with the two same-sex couples who challenged Prop 8 and their attorneys.
Plaintiffs Kristin Perry, and Paul Katami and their partners reveled in what they called a vindication of their right to marry. Kristin Perry said, “Our courts are supposed to protect our constitutional rights. Today they did. Today every American should be proud.”
Sandy Stier, Perry’s partner, said the ruling would give their relationship that one missing piece.
"I've been waiting for this day, this moment, never could have imagined it, when we could be legally married – legally married. Not just in our own eyes and in the eyes of our friends and family who love and support us, but legally – a signed, sealed, delivered, legal marriage," Stier said.
U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker wrote in his ruling that Proposition 8 would cause irreparable harm to same-sex couples, but it's unclear whether same-sex couples in California will be able to marry any time soon.
The federal judge has temporarily stayed his order until this Friday so that Prop 8 proponents can appeal that ruling. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will decide whether to grant a long-term stay while it considers the case.
Both sides have said they'll fight this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Plaintiff’s attorney Ted Olson said they prevailed in U.S. District Court because they presented compelling evidence in trial that Prop 8's ban on gay marriage harms same-sex couples and their children. Olson said that's evidence that will sway a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court justices to agree with today's ruling.
"We have other battles ahead of us. But with this decision carefully analyzing the evidence we are well on our way toward an ultimate victory," Olson said.
An appeal is likely to stretch into next year. It could take a couple years for the case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.