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8:30 AM: As reported yesterday, Judge Vaughn Walker, the federal judge who last week ruled to strike down Proposition 8, the California-voter mandated ban on same sex marriage, is expected to rule between 9 AM and noon today on whether same-sex marriages can resume, at least temporarily. (Your can get more details on how this might work here.)

People are already gathering at City Hall in anticipation of this ruling (a tipster says the crowd’s “short on Pro Prop 8 people, maybe they are still at church?”), and officials have confirmed that if Walker decides to lift the stay currently in place, they will be performing marriages today.

Appeal contrib Tim Ehhalt is on the scene helping us with updates as events unfold, Appeal pal Matt Baume will be tweeting from, and we’re always eager to receive your tips.

9 AM: “The general attitude here is hopeful and excited” Ehhalt says, and sends the video above to prove it. “It’s about 2-1 media people to marriage people. Oh, hey! The anti-gay people just got here, gotta go!”

9:12 AM: “Husband, wife, and child just drove by, honked, and gave everyone (the) finger” reports Ehhalt. No word on if the happy family is on the pro or against Prop8 side.

9:30 AM: Ehhalt interviews Roger and Ron, the first folks in line to get married, should the stay be lifted. “If it doesn’t happen, it’s just a matter of time, it it does, well, we’re here” they said.

9:41 AM: In between updating coverage of this story on SFist, editor Brock Keeling IMs me, saying “the yes on 8 blouses, of course, deserve their own post.” I just like that he called them “blouses.”

9:51 AM: From ABC7, via stop8, it’s quiet in the Castro.


10 AM: From Ehhalt: Sean and Lawrence (above) of Palo Alto joined the line to get married at City Hall a little after nine this morning and are “hoping for the best.”

10:04: Newsom’s on the steps of City Hall, getting mobbed by media and marriage equality supporters.

Line getting longer. Hopefull jitters.

10:08 AM: Ehhalt reports from inside, saying that the line of folks waiting to get married is getting longer (see above), and that couples have “hopeful jitters.” “Other than that” says Ehhalt by phone “not a lot is going on. TONS of media getting here now.”

Roger and Rod's rings

10:20 AM: Ehhalt sends the above picture of the wedding rings Roger and Rod (the first folks in line to marry) Justin Berton (via stop8) reports they picked up at Stonestown last night.

10:30 AM: I just thought of something! If the argument for Prop 8 is primarily that marriage is for procreation, and Ehhalt, who is, in no particular order, at the Clerk’s office right now, recently vascetomied, and married (to, incidentally, me), does this mean his marriage license will be revoked on the spot if the stay remains in place? Could I be back on the market tonight??? WHOOOO!

I’m just being silly because the wait is killing me. Sorry! Back to serious business, NOW.

"it's about time."

10:45 AM: Matt, age 22 and Phillip, age 23 have been together 3 years and live right up the street. Matt says “it’s about time.”

10:52 AM: Matt Baume, of, sends the above video of the scene outside City Hall. There is much tweeting and texting going on!

11 AM: The Sheriff’s Dept is kicking media out of the county clerks office and hallway, Ehhalt reports, saying that “No reason (was) given ” and that he’s “staying till they throw me out.” Steve Rhodes notes that since City Hall’s a public building, this is a kind of questionable move on the cop’s part!

11:17 AM: From Ehhalt: “Compromise has been made. We can stay in hallway on other side as long as people can pass on the way out.”

Media left couples right.

11:30 AM: With only 30 minutes until noon, Ehhalt sends the above picture, saying “Media on the left, couples on the right” and that both sides are “busting with anticipation.”

11:45 AM: I seriously can’t believe how long it’s taking. BUT. I am really enjoying the conversations being broadcast on CBS5’s livestream, which I cannot link to directly, but is linked to at the top of their homepage.

11:53 AM: There’s some sort of dispute on the steps of City Hall, with a couple I presume is on the same sex marriage side telling a man he can’t take pictures of their children, though they are on TV being interviewed with them. It is quite confusing! The reporter interviewing them does not help the matter, by telling the couple that if the photographer “was media he’d have a badge.” Sorry, CBS5 lady, not so much anymore. Welcome to the internet!

Line finally stretched to end of hall in addition to everyones patience.

11:58 AM: “Line finally stretched to end of hall, in addition to everyone’s patience” says Ehhalt.

12:09 PM: Appeal commenter Brad remarks:

As much as I would love to legally marry my husband for the fourth time (we registered as domestic partners and took part in the mass domestic partners ceremony at city hall, then had a big wedding at my parent’s house 4 months later, then got an official San Francisco marriage license when Gavin opened the window, which was later nullified) I think it’s sad that I have to wait in a huge line to get another marriage attempt in through some very short open window, especially when same sex couples in IOWA of all places (not to mention the other states that allow it) have all the freedom to go in and do it whenever they want.

I really have mixed feelings about couple lining up for hours to squeeze in at one more little chance. Of course I am happy for them and I guess it’s a good demonstration of how important this right is to us. Is it wrong of me to say I look at that line of eager couples with mixed feelings?


Since we already have a marriage license from the City of San Francisco (and already paid the $165 or whatever it cost), why can’t we just take that license in and have it validated as legal?

12:15 PM: Ehhalt calls in from the hallway where couples are waiting to marry, saying that “everyone’s on eggshells” and that “tension is really high” as everyone there — media and the wedding-anticipatory, alike — waits for Walker’s decision, now 15 minutes after it was promised.

In my parents’ household, that means Walker’s grounded for a week, with no phone privileges.

12:18 PM: Joemygod is tweeting “Motion DENIED.” which is frustratingly vague. No one at City Hall can confirm/clarify what motion he’s referring to, nor do they agree that any decision has been filed.

12:24 PM: People are freaking out on the courthouse steps, saying the stay has been lifted. More details as soon as we have them!

12:27 PM: Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, has released a statement applauding Walker’s reported decision to lift the stay on marriage, saying “California is now the sixth state where same-sex couples share in the freedom to marry.”

12:33 PM: California Beat is also reporting that the stay’s been lifted (thanks, Katie Baker, for the link help!), but as of yet we can’t confirm that marriages are happening. I’m sorry I don’t have more for y’all! As soon as I know ANYTHING you will I swear.

12:35 PM: confirms that the stay has been lifted, however, they say that “Couples not being let in yet” to get married.

Couples cheering hugging crying as people hear #prop8 stay lifted

12:40 PM: Steve Rhodes posts the above photofrom the hallway at SF City Hall as couples react to the news that the stay has been lifted.

12:45 PM: No marriages today — according to the language from Walker’s ruling, the judgment shall be stayed until August 18.

12:47 PM: Equality California releases a statement saying “Today we are overjoyed, not only for all of the committed couples who are finally able marry as well as for their family and friends, but also because a fundamental constitutional freedom has been restored.” Which, shit, not quite, I guess.

12:50 PM: “lame lame lame” a reader writes in to the Appeal, regarding the judge’s decision to put off any same sex marriages until August 18.

12:52 PM: Senator Mark Leno also releases a statement saying “I am pleased with today’s decision that once again allows all loving same-sex couples to make lifelong commitments to one another through marriage,” but does it really? I’m still trying to get a copy, and am tracking down legal analysts to help us all understand what this decision means. If you have thoughts, you know where to find me.

12:57 PM: One reader on whom we routinely rely on for legal analysis writes in, saying that with his ruling, Judge Walker “basically chickened out. He’s like, ‘I lift it but not until the 9th Circuit rules,’ (on the stay) and I really don’t think the 9th Circuit has the balls to lift the stay, so basically, no marriages until the Supreme Court rules….As far as I can tell, he’s like, ‘I’m lifting the stay on August 18 unless the 9th Circuit decides to impose a stay,’ which means 1) I haven’t really lifted the stay, and 2) I know the 9th Circuit will probably not lift the stay, so it doesn’t matter.”

City Admin Bill Lee announcing marriages can start 5 pm Aug 18 #Prop8

1:03 PM: That said, Steve Rhodes is reporting (that’s his photo, above) that City Admin Bill Lee has told the crowd that marriages can start at 5 pm on Aug 18 unless Judge Walker’s decision on the stay is overturned (which many, like our analyst, believe it will be). Lee said 150 volunteers were ready to do marriages today & there will be volunteers on the 18th, as well.

1:18 PM: The SJ Merc is reporting the Judge’s decision as “Judge says gay marriages can start, but gives time for appeal,” saying that Walker “put his decision on hold to give an appeals court an opportunity to consider whether to allow the marriage licenses to be issued while the legal challenge to the state’s gay marriage ban proceeds” and cautioning that “And if there is a window of time when same-sex couples marry while the Prop. 8 legal challenge is on appeal, there is no guarantee those marriage licenses will remain in force if Walker’s decision is ultimately overturned.”

1:22 PM: Here’s a copy of the final stay order, read it for yourself and tell us what you think! Our analyst’s expanded reading of this Walker’s arguments in the document (have another take? Let’s hear it on in the comments, or email me!)

1) The anti-same-sex-marriage people might not even be allowed to raise the stay issue before the 9th Circuit because the state says it doesn’t oppose immediate gay marriage.

2) The anti-gay-marriage people claimed that a stay was needed because people in line at City Hall right now might be confused about whether or not they can get married…(Judge Walker) says the anti-same-sex-marriage people don’t have the right to bring up this argument because none of them are asking for a same-sex marriage.

3) The anti-same-sex-marriage people also argue there’s no rush to get married now because none of the people seeking to get married now got married in 2008.

4) (Walker says that) denying same sex marriage hurts California, so bring it on!!!!

So basically, the anti-same-sex-marriage people have some really hilarious reasons why same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed right away, he shoots them all down, but then says we won’t start same-sex marriages until someone else backs him up on this….(I’d recommend reading the hilarious reasons the prop 8 people gave, though, they’re funny.)

1:30 PM: City Hall, Civic Center’s cleared out, reports Ehhalt. He’s headed back to Appeal HQ with more photos and video, which we’ll get up soon.

1:55 PM: Mayor Gavin Newsom has released a statement saying, in part, that: “As Judge Walker states in his decision, ‘an injunction against enforcement of Proposition 8 is in the public’s interest.’ The San Francisco County Clerk is already prepared to grant marriage licenses as soon as permitted after August 18th at 5:00 p.m., or whenever it is legally allowed.”

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

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