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 repirtedly expected to rule by noon Thursday on whether same-sex marriages can resume, at least temporarily.
Shortly after Walker’s ruling last week, he put in place a “stay,” that is, a hold on the enforcement of his ruling allowing same sex marriages. That’s why folks like Vanessa Judicpa and Maria Ydil, who attempted to get married last week in City Hall, weren’t able to complete the ceremony and become legally wed.
SF City as well as State officials appear hopeful that Walker will allow marriages to resume — both Attorney General Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have encouraged him to lift the stay.
San Francisco’s City Hall is also prepared to start marrying couples, and SF’s Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting has said “We’re absolutely ready. We can’t wait for Judge Walker to lift his stay. We’re working with the County Clerk’s office. If they stay is lifted we are prepared to stay open until 8 tonight and stay open Saturday and Sunday from 9-to-5,”
As we discussed last week, no matter what Walker decides, 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, a case that won’t be heard until next year.
What all this means: if Walker does indeed decide that same sex marriages resume tomorrow, that window for marriage could only be open for a short period of time before it’s closed again by the 9th Circuit — but it’s clear that however long this window is, our city’s ready to marry, in the words of one source, “as many people as possible.”