CA Clerks Told to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses, But With One Caveat

Swiftly following a U.S. Supreme Court decision this morning about a state ban on same-sex marriage, California Governor Jerry Brown took to the business of making such marriages a reality again. He ordered the Department of Public Health to instruct county clerks across the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but only once the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts a stay on the injunction against Proposition 8.

How long that could take, however, is unknown. "[I]t could take a month or more," advised a letter from the Department of Public Health to the clerks.

Brown made today's decision quickly because he prepared for this outcome, seeking an opinion from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris earlier this year. She affirmed today's actions in a letter dated June 3. "[W]hen the district court's injunction goes into effect, [county clerks] must resume issuing marriage licenses to and recording the marraiges of same-sex couples," she said.

Update, 11:03 a.m.: Harris this morning asked the Ninth Circuit to lift the stay immediately "because gay and lesbian couples in California have waited long enough for their full civil rights."

About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCETLink's Editor-in-Chief of Blogs, where he oversees website editorial and advises on projects. When he does write, he mostly covers local government, environment, and the outdoors.
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