Wednesday, June 4, 2008

California Supreme Court clears the way for same-sex marriages starting June 17 - San Jose Mercury News

California Supreme Court clears the way for same-sex marriages starting June 17 - San Jose Mercury News

By Howard Mintz
Mercury News
Article Launched: 06/04/2008 09:22:47 AM PDT

The California Supreme Court today rejected a bid to freeze last month's ruling legalizing gay marriage, paving the way for same-sex couples to begin walking down the aisle as soon as June 17.
Moving swiftly to remove legal uncertainty, the court turned a way a request from gay marriage foes to stay the ruling until after the November election, when voters will consider a ballot measure that would change the state Constitution to again outlaw same-sex weddings. The secretary of state earlier this week qualified the initiative for the November ballot.

The justices were divided 4-3 on whether to rehear their earlier decision, the same split that unfolded when the gay marriage case was decided in May. Conservative organizations, joined by 10 other states, asked the court to reopen the case, a move opposed by civil rights groups, San Francisco city officials and Attorney General Jerry Brown.

The Supreme Court found California's ban on same-sex weddings unconstitutional in a 4-3 ruling that reverberated across the country. Since that time, state officials have created new marriage licenses and announced that they would be prepared to handle gay marriages on June 17, the day after the Supreme Court's ruling becomes final.

Conservative organizations had argued that the court's ruling should not go into effect until after the election because of the uncertainty surrounding same-sex marriages that are expected to take place between now and November. If voters approve the ballot measure banning gay marriage, it would cast doubt over same-sex marriages, an issue expected to be tied up in the courts.
Civil rights lawyers have vowed to challenge the ballot measure if it is approved by voters in light of the Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples should have an equal right to marry

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