A reader tipped us off to these notices on City Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting’s Facebook page, in which he says:

“We’re getting ready to marry people in SF. If you want to volunteer, email craig.dziedzic@sfgov.org to help.”

As we reported yesterday, sources say that sometime in the next few days, Judge Walker is expected to issue a very short ruling on the current hold on same sex marriage (called a “stay”) to either say that it should remain in place through the process appealing his decision to overturn Proposition 8 (which could be many months), or to lift it and allow same sex marriages to be performed in California.

Some say that this ruling could happen as soon as Friday, but one reader tells us that as Walker “ordered the parties to brief the issue by August 6,” (that is, turn in their arguments by then) a decision that day is unlikely “unless he decides the minute he gets the papers.”

No matter which side “wins” his ruling on the stay, the decision gets immediately appealed to the 9th Circuit court, which is expected to enforce it — that is, prevent any same-sex marriages from being performed until they rule on the Prop 8 supporters’ appeal of Walker’s decision on marriage equality.

This creates an interesting possibility — if Walker lifts the stay, as many say he will, there could be a 6-48 hour window for marriages until the 9th Circuit court shuts it down (as they’re expected to do).

“Confusing law shit!” a colleague just IMed me after reading this story. So, to boil it down, sometime soon it’s possible that gay and lesbians might have a few hours, or even days in which it would be technically legal for them to get married.

Yesterday we wondered that if that window opens, will city officials allow marriages during that period? After all, there was a window yesterday, and they did not.

But today, it appears, city officials are banking on it.

Spokesperson for the Assessor-Recorders Office, Angela D’Anna confirms that, yes, San Francisco will be poised and ready to start performing marriages if and when Judge Walker lift the stay.

“If he lifts the stay, the city clerk will be issuing licenses and we will be recording them” as long as the stay remains lifted. “We’re just waiting for the ban to get lifted.”

Given that this wedding window could be as short as a few hours, that’s where the volunteer part comes in — “we’re committed to getting as many people as possible married in the time permitting” one City Hall source told the Appeal, and by having volunteers to help staff in the Assessor-Recorder’s office and the City Clerk, lines will move more quickly and more marriages will be performed.

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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