Jerry Brown: California counties must comply with gay marriage

A rainbow flag hangs from the office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at City Hall Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a U.S. law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in the state of California. The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits. The other was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. (Jeff Chiu)
June 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gov. Jerry Brown says he has directed the California Department of Public Health to start issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as soon as a federal appeals court lifts its stay on a lower court ruling in the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday let stand that lower court ruling, which overturned the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.

Brown said in a statement that the court has made same-sex marriage a reality in California "after years of struggle."

The Democratic governor says he and Attorney General Kamala Harris have determined that county clerks and county registrars must comply with Wednesday's ruling and begin registering same-sex marriage licenses once the stay is lifted.

The state Department of Public Health says in a letter to counties that it could take a month or more before that happens.

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PRESS RELEASE

Governor Brown Issues Statement on Historic Proposition 8 Ruling

SACRAMENTO ? Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry):

"After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state's counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted," said Governor Brown.

The effect of today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling is that the 2010 federal district court's decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional is left intact and the law cannot be enforced.

In response, the Governor has directed the California Department of Public Health to advise county officials today that the district court's injunction against Proposition 8 applies statewide and that all county clerks and county registrar/recorders must comply with it. However, same-sex Californians will not be able to marry until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms the stay of the injunction, which has been in place throughout the appeals process, is lifted.

In preparation for this outcome, Governor Brown sought an opinion from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on whether the state, through the California Department of Public Health, can advise county clerks and registrar/recorders that they are bound by the federal district court's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The Attorney General concluded that the California Department of Public Health "can and should" instruct county officials that they "must resume issuing marriage licenses to and recording the marriages of same-sex" couples. The Department will issue another letter to county officials as soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms the stay is lifted.

The Department of Public Health letter to county officials can be found here.

The Attorney General's letter to Governor Brown can be found here.


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