California Attorney General Kamala Harris presides over marriage of Kris Perry and Sandra Stier
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just now lifted the stay on the district court ruling that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
This comes two days after it notified all parties that it would take 25 days or more to react to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that proponents of the anti-gay law did not have legal standing.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris had urged the Ninth Circuit to immediately lift the stay.
With marriage equality now restored in California, the plaintiffs who successfully challenged Proposition 8 in Hollingsworth v. Perry will be the first gay or lesbian couple to be married in California post-Proposition 8. Plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley, Calif. [PICTURED AT THE UPPER LEFT GETTING THEIR MARRIAGE LICENSE] will be married TODAY at City Hall in San Francisco at 4:15 pm PDT. [UPDATE: Kamala Harris has married the couple, who have two grown sons and two other sons still living at home!]
The other plaintiff couple -- Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo [PICTURED AT THE MIDDLE LEFT WITH THEIR MARRIAGE LICENSE and LOWER LEFT GETTING MARRIED] -- were planning to marry today in Los Angeles. Watch them LIVE on NBC4 News at 6 pm PDT! [UPDATE: THEY WERE MARRIED BY THE MAYOR OF LOS ANGELES BROADCAST LIVE ON TV!]
The weddings will take place just two days after the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry that restores marriage equality to California.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the landmark federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. It is the first case involving the fundamental right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry to ever be fully briefed and argued before the Supreme Court.
“On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of the United States acknowledged that gay and lesbian Californians are equal under the law and can once again marry the person they love. Today, Sandy and I realized that promise of equality, as we stand here united in marriage,” said Plaintiff Kris Perry. “We look forward to spending the rest of our lives together. Yet we will never forget this day—the day the freedom to marry was restored to our home state.”
“This week, our nation’s High Court said that I am more equal, that we are more equal, that our love is just like our parents and grandparents, and that any children that we may have will be equal, too,” said Plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo. “I love Paul more than anything else in the world, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. This is the happiest day of our lives.”
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, expressed his joy. He was involved with AFER prior to joining the HRC.
“After four and a half long and painful years, justice for committed gay and lesbian couples has finally been delivered. In California, a time of struggle and indignity are over, and love, justice and freedom begin anew. And now, no election, no judge – no one – can take this basic right away. At long last, marriage has finally returned to the most populous state in the nation.
“Kris Perry and Sandy Stier’s twin sons were just starting high school when their moms' right to marry was taken away, now, as they prepare to start college, they will finally see their family recognized in the eyes of their state and their country. Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, now free to marry, can finally plan the family they've always wanted. Thousands upon thousands of lives are about to change for the better, for good. And young LGBT people across the Golden State will can today look forward to a future where they are truly and fully equal.
“Today is a day of profound celebration, but tomorrow – and every day from here on out – we will fight until joy, dignity, and full equality in all its forms reach each and every corner of this vast country.”
Jon Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal, offers congratulations to the two couples.
"We are thrilled! This is a wonderful day for same-sex couples in California. Already, couples are lining up outside courthouses across the state. With this quick action, Prop 8 is gone and with it an ugly effort to exclude same-sex couples from the joys of marriage. Let the wedding bells ring!
"This has been a long battle in this state, and Lambda Legal has been proud to fight for same-sex couples and their freedom to marry for years, including the first historic victory in 2008. We are so delighted finally to see this day. Congratulations to Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and to Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, who we understand are marrying this afternoon, and to all the other couples who are soon to wed."
Andy Pugno, attorney for Prop 8's anti-gay supporters, was furious about the Ninth Circuit lifting the stay.
"We just received word that the Ninth Circuit, without waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision to become final and depriving us of our right to ask for reconsideration, has rushed forward to order same-sex marriage licenses," he said.
"This outrageous act of judicial tyranny tops off a chronic pattern of lawlessness, throughout this case, by judges and politicians hell-bent on thwarting the vote of the people to redefine marriage by any means, even outright corruption," Pugno said.
"Homosexual marriage is not happening because the people changed their mind. It isn’t happening because the appellate courts declared a new constitutional right. It’s happening because enemies of the people have abused their power to manipulate the system and render the people voiceless," he said.
"The resumption of same-sex marriage this day has been obtained by illegitimate means. If our opponents rejoice in achieving their goal in a dishonorable fashion, they should be ashamed," Pugno said.
"It remains to be seen whether the fight can go on, but either way, it is a disgraceful day for California."
Frequently asked questions about getting married in California
Want to get married in San Diego County. Please click HERE for more information.
AFER quickly published a FAQ on getting married in California. Click HERE.