Breaking News: Prop. 8 Ruling

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Updated 7:00pm:

We're signing off from this "breaking updates" post, but you can continue to follow our coverage as today's ruling heads into the appeal process right here on this blog.

Updated 4:30pm:

The KQED News radio special, examining the ruling and its implications, is live on KQED Radio right now. You can listen live online or find it later today in the archives.

Updated 3:55pm:

Heard on KQED Radio:

Soon after Judge Walker ruled that Prop. 8 violates the U.S. Constitution's protections of due process and equal protection, the plaintiff's attorneys held a news conference in San Francisco. Also, the defendants in the case reasserted their intention to appeal the ruling. Have a listen:

Updated 3:45pm:

A crowd gathers outside the federal district court house in San Francisco on August 4, 2010.

The $64K Question: So when can same-sex couples start getting married?

The Short Answer: Not anytime soon.

The Slightly Longer Answer: As soon as Judge Vaughn Walker handed down his decision overturning Prop. 8 today, gay and lesbian couples began appearing at San Francisco City Hall to see if they can get married. Mayor Gavin Newsom said he huddled with the city clerk and lawyers from the city attorney’s office to go over Walker’s ruling and determine whether the city could begin conducting same-sex marriages again.

But they can’t, for now. That’s because immediately after releasing his 136-page ruling, Walker also agreed to put his order overturning Prop. 8 on hold. He did that to give both sides in the case a chance to present written arguments about whether his order should be stayed pending an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal. If Walker refuses to grant the stay, that would likely send opponents of same-sex marriage directly to the appeals court in an attempt to stop the ruling from going into effect. Standard procedure in that court would be to put the lower court ruling on hold at least  temporarily.

Bottom line: The long expected battle in the appellate courts is about to begin, and it’s unlikely that Walker’s ruling will take effect until the process is completed—perhaps by a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. That means disappointment, and a long delay, for gay and lesbian Californians who want to marry.

Updated 3:38 pm:, the public face of the Alliance Defense Fund and the proponents of Proposition 8, released a statement confirming their intent to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court.

"Today’s ruling is clearly a disappointment. The judge’s invalidation of the votes of over seven million Californians violates binding legal precedent and short-circuits the democratic process. But this is not the end of our fight to uphold the will of the people for traditional marriage, as we now begin an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."

Read the full release.

Updated 2:48 pm:

Reporter's notes from San Francisco City Hall:

Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac were married on June 16, 2008.

After the ruling was announced, several same-sex couples approached the city clerk's office in an attempt to apply for marriage licenses. The couples were turned away as the clerk explained that while the judge did overrule Proposition 8, he also issued a stay. Several faith-based groups offered to "bless" the couples. A small crowd of about 50 people, including San Francisco District 9 Supervisor David Campos, remains inside.

Listen to the report from City Hall as heard on KQED Radio.

Updated 2:34 pm:

You can now download a pdf of the official ruling here.

Updated 2:21 pm:

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement upholding Judge Walker's decision.

"Judge Walker had the great responsibility of deciding whether Proposition 8 violates the Constitution of the United States.  He heard in-depth arguments from both sides on fundamental questions of due process, equal protection and freedom from discrimination. There are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, and I am glad that all viewpoints were respected throughout the proceedings. We should also recognize that there will continue to be different points of view in the wake of this decision."

Read the full statement.

Updated 2:09pm:

Here's a link to the story from the Associated Press:

A federal judge overturned California's same-sex marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America, according to a person close to the case. Read more at Google...

Update 2:08pm:

While the court has not posted the decision on its web site, an unverified copy of Judge Walker's ruling has appeared online. You can read it here.

Updated 1:50pm:

Judge Walker has ruled that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. Stay tuned to this blog and KQED Radio for the latest updates.

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  • Greg Davis

    Regarding the stay: if it is my right to be able to marry a same-sex partner, then it is my right now, not at some point in the future. There should be no stay preventing same-sex marriages from taking place.