Judge Walker Strikes Again: Gay Marriage Returns to California ON AUGUST 18

ATTENTION CALIFORNIA GAYS: It’s now confirmed, you can get married now! Well, starting Aug. 18, says CNN, and then every day after that, unless an appeals court says differently later! (@sfexaminer)


Judge Vaughn Walker ruled today that gays can begin getting married in California. He denied the Prop 8 supporters’ request for a stay of his decision in the Prop 8 trial, at least a permanent stay. There will be no new marriages until August 18th, during which time opponents have the opportunity to appeal the ruling. Read the entire stay decision here. (@latimes)

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Attorney General Jerry Brown both advised Judge Walker that administrative difficulties would not be a sufficient reason to issue the stay (emphasis ours):

“Government officials can resume issuing such licenses without administrative delay or difficulty,” Schwarzenegger’s office said in written arguments to the court.

…Brown also told Walker that possible administrative difficulties should not be used as an excuse for denying gays the right to wed. Brown said his office last year opposed a pretrial request to block Proposition 8 only because the legal and factual issues had not yet been explored.

“That has now occurred,” Brown’s office said. ” And while there is still the potential for limited administrative burdens should future marriages of same-sex couples be later declared invalid, these potential burdens are outweighed” by the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians. (@sfchronicle)

Officials were on standby for the ruling all day Thursday. Walker had promised to issue it before noon Pacific Standard Time, though he was a bit late with that deadline. LA Mayor Antonio Villaragosa said the city would begin issuing licenses as early as possible, which appears to be in a week. You can watch a live stream of the steps at San Francisco City Hall here, while it lasts. Also, CNN has some interesting live footage here outside city hall.

Today is going to be just like that time Gavin Newsom went rogue and married everyone in San Francisco! Except for this time, IT’S LEGAL! Holler!

If any readers take advantage of this, please send us your photos! You can email sarah [at] autostraddle.com. Also, if you would like to invite me to your wedding, feel free. They are my favorite of all social events.

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Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 127 articles for us.


  1. Oh, that photo instantly made me burst into tears at my desk. Such tangible heroines, those two and their life and their love. I wish they could be together still today.

    • Yes, I worked at the Lyon/Martin Women’s Health Center. I met them, and two nicer more gracious, more dedicated partners/spouses in this life you will never meet. I only wish they could both be there on the 18th to do it for real.

  2. According to the document released by the court the stay will remain in place until August 18th. So folks still have about a week to wait. That’s a bit of a bummer but at least they won’t have to wait until after the appeals and all! So still yay! *tears up*

  3. Oh my god I hope nothing happens to further prevent teh gay marriages from ending the world.

    Oh, wait…

  4. “He lifted that stay today, according a court announcement at 12:35 p.m. However, Walker said in today’s order that the stay will not be canceled until 5 p.m. on Aug. 18. That gives proponents of Prop. 8 time to ask the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for another stay.”

    So, basically, legal foreplay for all the soon-to-be honeymooners? HARSH.

    • The proponents have made it clear that they intend to appeal, without any doubt. However, the interesting legal question is whether they even have standing to appeal (which is to say, whether the Protect Marriage folks can push this case further than Judge Walker’s court, without the support of California). In his order today, Judge Walker seemed to indicate that he felt pretty strongly that they might not.

    • Seems to me taking it to the SCOTUS would be the worst thing they could do at this point.

  5. “Proponents had a full opportunity to provide evidence in support of their position and nevertheless failed to present even one credible witness on the government interest in Proposition 8. Doc #708 at 37-51. Based on the trial record, which establishes that Proposition 8 violates plaintiffs’ equal protection and due process rights, the court cannot conclude that proponents have shown a likelihood of success on appeal. The first factor does not favor a stay.”

    BAM! Uh I want to marry this ruling. Also, I am really very curious about the defense attorneys’ reactions to these decisions, you know? Like would you ever be able to look any of your professional colleagues in the face after you get (deservedly) SLAPPED around like this…TWICE?!?!? Are they enthusiastic about having their collective douchebaggery failure scrutinized by two more courts? Or do they actually not give a shit if we can get married or not, but now they’re stuck in this appellate quicksand clusterfuck to the SCOTUS and, really, they just got into it for the mormon money anyways?

    • I dunno. I mean, I am pretty sure there are sentient amoeba could have defended this case more successfully than these guys. It must be pretty embarrassing to be them right now.

      • They have to have a little shame after all this, right? I kinda want to sit down with them and just be like “Really, guys? Did you really think you had/made a case here really I mean be serious? Are you really just angry and intolerant like your hate breathing, fear mongering clients or, come on, are you really just willing to be embarrassed like this again b/c the bigot’s money is that good? Do you have to wear special suits everyday to keep your souls from escaping? Do you realize that this is how you are going to go down in history?”
        I haven’t been to law school so maybe there’s something I’m missing here. I mean, I’m not going to lose sleep over it I’m just really fucking curious.

        • Special K – You hit the nail on the head…. They are on the wrong and shameful side of history. Today is a great day for human rights and the rule of law.

    • Also great: “Proponents assert they are likely to success ‘[f]or all of the reasons explained throughout this litigation.'” I feel like any first year law student knows better than to try a generic argument like this.

      I honestly cannot believe that they filed their motion to stay the decision before Walker even issued his opinion, as it meant they couldn’t address any of his arguments from the opinion. Sometimes it feels like they aren’t even trying.

      • “Sometimes it feels like they aren’t even trying.”

        I know right? If they’re going to work to advance the cause of bigotry in their country, could they at least pretend to put some effort in? It’s like they know they don’t have a case.

        • What astounds me the most is that they’re predicting it to be a close call if it goes to SCOTUS. I’m really interested in reading the dissenting opinion if it does go that far, but jesus christ there’s like zero legal basis to ban gay marriage and all sorts of precedent to legalize it.

          I don’t get it.

  6. Is it a coincidence that there’s an ad for christian louboutin at the top of the homepage today? because i am so totally wearing those fucking insane heels at my future no-longer-hypothetical wedding. hypothetically if i have any money at all, i mean. ;)

  7. It is kind of sad that in European countries with Napoleonic law systems we can’t rely on rational judges taking rational, evidence-based decisions. In our countries, judges can only apply existing laws (which are very detailed) and existing laws can only be changed by parliaments and often by (parliament-delegated) governments.

    Since parliaments are elected democratically, if the majority of people gets stupid and elects crazy-ass parliaments (like happened for Germans and Italians between the World Wars, when “democracies” naturally and legally became dictatorships) there’s no way for justice to prevail.

    Justice for us is just about judges applying the laws, and if the laws suck / are crazy, then judges have no power to change them.

    We do have a constitution, but it’s never happened that the equivalent of the Supreme Court rules new laws to be uncostitutional. Big changes in civil rights (divorce, abortion) have always passed through parliaments, and have been later ratified by ballot.

    In a country like mine (Italy) where politics is always behind society, we have to wait for the parliament to pass a law (which will not happen in the next 10 years), which will then be easily confirmed by people’s votes (because society is less backward than politics). But the judges have no power in this regard. It’s like, justice does not matter, what matters is winning the election and gaining political power :(

  8. Judge Walker is like the coolest judge of all time. I feel like if I wrote an opinion for this case, it would be very similar to his. This makes me want to move back to Cali for at least like a week to party.

  9. So, the (non-legal) wife and I went to SF city hall to be wed today. No mas. Filled out half an application and then word of another delay.

    This is the Right’s idea of “family values?” A sad, half-filled-out-marriage application? Honestly, California voters: you have MAJOR commitment issues.

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