California’s Prop. 8 Still In EffectAugust 5, 2010 - 12:39 PM | by: Claudia Cowan
Despite the landmark ruling striking down California’s ban on same sex marriage, nothing has really changed. Gay and lesbian couples still can’t get married, because Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker issued a temporary stay on his decision.
Prop. 8 is still in effect while he considers whether his order should be suspended pending an appeal. Lawyers on both sides are presenting arguments either in favor of, or opposed to, allowing gay weddings to resume. Tomorrow, Walker is expected to to rule on this very critical question of if, and when, the state will stop enforcing the 2008 voter-approved ban on gay marriage.
In the meantime, gay activists are celebrating yesterday’s landmark ruling. Hundreds of people marched along Market Street, many of them carrying rainbow flags and American flags, as well as signs that read “we all deserve the freedom to marry.”
Celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres are tweeting “Equality Won!” — an opinion shared by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as President Obama. A White House spokesman says President Obama may not support gay marriage personally, but he believes Prop. 8 is “divisive and discriminatory.”
But supporters of the ban say the ruling is “judicial activism” that defies the will of the 7-million Californians who voted to limit marriage to a man and a woman. The National Organization for Marriage says that, if it’s allowed to stand, the ruling threatens not just Prop. 8 here in California, but the laws in 45 other states that define valid marriage the same way. The case now moves to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over 9 Western states. The outcome there could force the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry the person they love.
But that’s years down down the road. The pending appeal to the 9th Circuit Court could prevent gay weddings from resuming in California anytime soon.