Gay marriage backers celebrate court ruling | June 28, 2013 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - June 28, 2013

Gay marriage backers celebrate court ruling

by Chris Kenrick

Backers of gay marriage celebrated Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court rulings clearing the way for issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples in California.

But it could be as many as 25 days — the period during which petitioners can ask for a rehearing before the U.S. Supreme Court — until the dust settles and gay marriages resume here.

Gov. Jerry Brown said the effect of the ruling is that the 2010 federal district court's decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional is left intact and the law cannot be enforced.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said every county in the state must now recognize the right of same sex couples to legally marry. Harris asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift its stay on the 2010 district court ruling and allow same-sex marriages to take place.

In Santa Clara County, the clerk-recorder's office issued a statement today outlining plans to have 27 service windows ready to process marriage license applications at the county government center in San Jose.

The office has deputized employees to perform weddings and will call on community volunteers for backup if there is high demand.

The county is also offering a new service, an "express marriage ceremony" beginning July 1 that allows couples to walk in and have a ceremony performed at a service window without an appointment. The new service costs about $120 in fees, while a regular ceremony costs about $80.

In anticipation of a high volume of marriages, two wedding chapel facilities have been added to complement the existing chapel.

This will allow up to 17 ceremonies per day at each of the three chapels.

In Palo Alto, the Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern of the Unitarian Universalist Church has promised to offer free weddings for one day, pending the Supreme Court ruling.

Church staff members said Morgenstern is out of the country until July 23 but will likely offer the weddings when she returns.

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, who married his partner of 26 years, Dennis McShane, in 2008, hailed this morning's rulings.

"Marriage equality has been a priority and a dream of the LGBT community for decades," said Gordon, who represents Mountain View and chairs California's Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus.

"Today, with the Supreme Court's announcements, we are realizing that dream and we now celebrate equal marriage rights for all Californians.

"While this is a day for celebration, we must also remember that our work is not yet done. Only thirteen states and the District of Columbia have achieved the dream of marriage equality," Gordon said.

"However, public opinion is rapidly changing. In May alone, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota achieved marriage equality, and for the first time ever a majority of Americans now favor equal marriage rights. With momentum on our side, we will not rest until every American can exercise their right to marry who they love," he said.

Supporters of California's Proposition 8 said they would continue to seek enforcement of a gay marriage ban "until such time as there is a binding statewide order that renders Prop 8 unenforceable.

"We are especially grateful and humbled by the consistent prayers and support of traditional marriage supporters everywhere throughout this long and difficult case," said Andy Pugno, general counsel for the Proposition 8 Legal Defense Fund.

—Bay City News Service contributed to this report.


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