Update: Court lifts stay on gay marriage in Calif.; Brown orders licenses; couples wed in LA, SF (photos)

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Update 6:54 p.m.: First Southern California gay couple since 2008 marry in L.A.

On Friday plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case that overturned California's same-sex marriage ban became the first gay couple to wed in Los Angeles since 2008.

Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were wed at City Hall in a ceremony officiated by outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who took a sudden detour on his 24-hour farewell bus tour of the city to be there.

The ceremony was held in the city hall press room — not the most romantic setting, but the couple expressed excitement anyway and said they hadn't expected to be able to get married until sometime in July.

"I don't know if you have a word for how 'equal' feels...This is just an amazing feeling," Zarrillo said.

Katami and Zarrillo said their next step was to fly immediately to San Francisco to be with the other plaintiffs in the case, who themselves became the first gay couples in the state to marry after Proposition 8, the voter-approved constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage.

Villaraigosa was also excited to be a part of their wedding. "Never have I been more joyful than I am today," he said, speaking at City Hall.

Earlier in the day, L.A. County Registrar/Recorder Dean Logan met with the couple during a tense afternoon to discuss whether they would be able to obtain their marriage license.

"I went down to greet them, because I know they were concerned over whether they would be able to get the license. We were running around trying to get confirmation from the Department of Public Health and the attorney general's office," Logan said.

When Logan got a call from Attorney General Kamala Harris, he told the couple he would be able to issue the license.

"It was a very touching moment, and I'm glad that we were able to do that for them today," Logan said.

Update 5:58 p.m.: Prop 8 plaintiffs are first gay couple to wed in Calif. since 2008

The lead plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California's same-sex marriage ban tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall on Friday, about an hour after a federal appeals court freed same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, of Berkeley, as hundreds of supporters looked on and cheered. The couple sued to overturn the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, of Burbank, who planned to marry Friday evening at Los Angeles City Hall.

"By joining the case against Proposition 8, they represented thousands of couples like themselves in their fight for marriage equality," Harris, who had asked the appeals court to act swiftly, said during Stier and Perry's brief ceremony. "Through the ups and downs, the struggles and the triumphs, they came out victorious."

Harris declared Perry, 48, and Stier, 50, "spouses for life," but during their vows, they took each other as "lawfully wedded wife." One of their twin sons served as ring-bearer.

Although the couple have fought for the right to wed for years, their wedding came together in a flurry when a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order Friday afternoon dissolving, "effective immediately," a stay it imposed on gay marriages while the lawsuit challenging the ban advanced through the courts.

When asked about plans for a honeymoon, Stier and Perry laughed and said it’s "next on our order of things to plan."

They plan to celebrate this weekend with their close family and friends.  "And then Sandy and I are going to go off on our own," said Perry.

— with Associated Press

Update 5:48 p.m.: Gay marriage opponents react; legal criticism

Not everyone was celebrating on Friday following news that same-sex marriages could resume in California.

"We've seen it coming and we are still sorry that it has happened. We worked so hard, the people spoke and the court has ruled. All we can do is keep pushing," said Rev. William Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American pastors. 

In 2008, the coalition organized African American churches throughout California in support of Proposition 8, an initiative constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state.

"It is what it is. So we just have to deal with it. Get out there and organize and not stop fighting and that's what we'll do," Owens said.

John Eastman, a professor of law at Chapman University and the director of the Center of Constitutional Jurisprudence, told KPCC's Nick Roman that the appeals court jumped the gun Friday. Under Supreme Court rules, a 25-day period is normally required to allow the losing party to petition for a rehearing. 

"I've had a number of people asking me about legal recourse and quite frankly I've been telling them it's hard to recommend legal recourse when what's happening here is just such utter lawlessness," Eastman said.

"There's a reason we have a petition for rehearing. Sometimes courts get decisions wrong, and a petition for rehearing can point out errors in the court's decision," Eastman said.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles county clerk Dean Logan said attorney general Kamala Harris called his office at 4:07 p.m. and told him to begin issuing marriage licenses.

KPCC reporter Sanden Totten contributed to this report

Update 4:43 p.m.: Mayor Villaraigosa to officiate wedding at City Hall

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was expected to officiate over the wedding of Prop 8 plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo at Los Angeles City Hall on Friday. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m.

Update 4:16 p.m.: Gov. Jerry Brown made good on his promise in the wake of this week's Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage by ordering all clerks and registrar/recorders in California's 58 counties to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

Brown's order comes just after the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay on gay marriages Friday afternoon in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling Wednesday that dismissed an appeal of the voter-approved Proposition 8, which banned gay marriages.

Below is the full text of a memo from State Registrar Tony Agurto.

Date                      June 28, 2013



On June 28, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dissolved the stay of the order enjoining enforcement of Proposition 8.  As explained in the notice dated June 26, 2013, this order applies to all 58 county clerks and county recorders.  This means that same-sex marriage is again legal in California. 

Effective immediately, county clerks shall issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California.

People who are currently in a State Registered Domestic Partnership (SRDP) may be issued a marriage license if the parties to the SRDP and the parties to the marriage are the same (Family Code Section 298.5) and the parties are not already legally married to one another in another jurisdiction.

Same-sex couples legally married in another jurisdiction will be considered already legally married under California marriage licensing and certification laws and they should not be issued a new marriage license.  Family Code sections 301, 302, and 500 allow only unmarried persons to marry in California.  

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Birth and Marriage Registration Section at (916) 445-8494.

Tony Agurto, MPA

State Registrar

Assistant Deputy Director

Health Information and Strategic Planning

UPDATE 4:02 p.m.: First weddings in San Francisco and L.A.

The first same-sex weddings in the state since Proposition 8 banned them in California were under way on Friday, just days after a Supreme Court ruling that effectively threw out the law.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, plaintiffs in the original complaint, Hollingsworth v. Perry, were the first gay or lesbian couple to be married post-Prop 8, according to a statement from the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organization that backed the complaint against the voter-approved initiative. They were being married in San Francisco.

Plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were set to be married in Los Angeles at City Hall later in the evening.

EARLIER: Appeals court lifts stay on gay marriages in California

A federal appeals court on Friday cleared the way for the state of California to immediately resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after a 4 1/2-year freeze.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order saying it has dissolved a stay it imposed on gay marriages while a lawsuit challenging the state's voter-approved ban on such unions worked its way through the courts.

Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, said city officials were preparing to let couples marry right away.

Related: Prop 8 ruling legalizes gay marriage in California; DOMA ruled unconstitutional (Read the full decisions; photos, reactions)

The appeals court's decision amounted to a single line: "The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately."

Just minutes after the appeals court issued its order, the two lead plaintiffs in the case were standing in line at San Francisco City Hall to get a marriage license. They planned to wed at 4:15 p.m., with state Attorney General Kamala Harris officiating, according to the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which brought the lawsuit.

"On my way to SF City Hall. Let the wedding bells ring," Harris tweeted after the 9th Circuit issued its order.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that the sponsors of California's voter-approved gay marriage ban lacked authority to defend Proposition 8 in court once Harris and Gov. Jerry Brown refused to do so.

The decision lets stand a trial judge's declaration that the ban violates the civil rights of gay Californians and cannot be enforced.

The court said earlier this week that it would not finalize its ruling in the Proposition 8 dispute for at least 25 days.

That time period is normally given to allow the losing side to petition for a rehearing, but this case was particularly significant, said Douglas NeJaime, an associate professor of law at Loyola Marymount University who practices in the areas of family law and sexuality.

"We got a definitive word from the Supreme Court and clearly political will in the state was toward allowing same-sex couples to marry as soon as possible," NeJaime told KPCC's Nick Roman.

It was not immediately clear whether the appeals court's action would be halted by the high court.

—Associated Press

Order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal lifting order in Prop 8 case

13-16 Ruling Re Same-Sex Marriages

This story has been updated.

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